NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) has welcomed recent remarks by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund in The Bahamas, noting that many natural resources in The Bahamas, including its potential oil resource, have the capacity to add an entirely new income stream to the Bahamian government.
The company, which is currently drilling an exploratory oil well in The Bahamas, has backed the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund for The Bahamas.
“Four years ago, The Bahamas passed legislation to establish the framework for a Bahamian sovereign wealth fund, an initiative which BPC actively supported,” said BPC CEO Simon Potter.
“The many natural resources in The Bahamas, including its potential oil resource, have the capacity to add an entirely new income stream to the government of The Bahamas, thereby diversifying the economy and significantly broadening the government’s revenue base.
“We are thus delighted with Prime Minister Minnis’ statements today (Thursday) indicating how the sovereign wealth fund will be brought to life.”
Potter added: “Royalty payments to the government, for instance if BPC were to find commercial quantities of oil from its exploratory well ‘Perseverance 1’ and thereafter bring that oil into production, would provide exactly the kind of excess cash the prime minister envisages to be paid into a sovereign wealth fund.
“Once established, such a wealth fund would allow the government a much greater degree of choice than currently exists to promote and safeguard the well-being of all Bahamians. Choices, for example, to pay down the national debt, or to invest in infrastructure and services that better the lives of its citizens — the possibilities are many.”
The company noted that many of BPC’s management and professional teams have worked in countries or states that have benefited significantly from the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund, such as Norway, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Alaska and East Timor.
BPC also noted that it has oil production operations in Trinidad and Tobago — a country in the Caribbean that has successfully maintained a sovereign wealth fund created from the surplus income generated from its oil and gas wealth and derived alongside its buoyant and lucrative tourism income.
Last week, Minnis, while addressing the Bahamas Business Outlook, said that government intends to “accelerate” the implementation of a sovereign wealth fund.