Chance of Oil Find in Bahamas

25-30 percent chance of oil find in Bahamas, says exploration company
Published on April 13, 2013

By Krystel Rolle
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter

NASSAU, Bahamas — There is a 25 percent to 30 percent chance the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) will discover oil in The Bahamas, according to Paul Gucwa, BPC’s chief operating officer.

“What we’re about to do is explore to find out whether there’s oil there or not,” said Gucwa on the Guardian Radio show “Darold Miller Live” on 96.9 FM.

“And as explorationists, I can tell you that our perception is there is a one in three or one in four chance (that there is oil). So it’s not certain that we are going to find oil.”

The government has approved exploratory drilling to determine if the country has commercially viable oil reserves before it holds a referendum on the issue at the end of 2014 or early 2015.

Gucwa said even if BPC does find oil, it will take years before production gets going.

“Should we be fortunate enough to find oil, it will be four to six years before we’re able to put the facilities in place to begin production and that’s the time that we intend to train people to take the jobs in The Bahamas.

“As a company we are committed to hiring Bahamians to fill all the jobs that we can.”

Gucwa called into the radio show to address concerns expressed by Rev. Andrew Stewart and Rev. Wesley Campbell of the National Citizen’s Alliance Coalition (NCAC), who were guests on the show.

As it relates to the offering of BPC shares, Gucwa said, “It’s not an easy task to get it through the Securities Commission and the Central Bank, but we’re putting our best efforts into doing that so that the shares will be available for Bahamians to buy should they want it.”

Kenred Dorsett, minister for the environment and housing, has said a commercial oil find would be “economically transformative”.

However, Prime Minister Perry Christie said last month his government is not counting on the discovery of oil in the country for revenue generation.

“Nobody has discovered oil in commercial quantities in The Bahamas,” he noted.

“I most certainly wouldn’t be counting that now in terms of projections.

“I’m trying to change the taxation model in the country because I can’t work on the premise that there is oil in The Bahamas that I don’t know of.

“That’s still speculative, still well into the future.”

The NCAC wants the government to change a sliding-scale agreement it has with BPC for oil revenue and establish an independent sovereign trust fund.

Under the current agreement, BPC would pay out anywhere from 12.5 percent to 25 percent to the government, depending on how much oil is extracted each day, if oil is discovered.

Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian