Tuesday, April 13, 2021

As Oil Drilling Begins, Minnis Says He’s Totally Against It

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hubert Minnis gave his opinion on the oil drilling operation in the Bahamas, telling reporters that he opposes oil drilling in the Bahamas, but his government was burdened with the agreement signed by the previous administration.

Why it matters

Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) intends to start oil exploration in the southern Bahamas. Stena Drilling, the provider of the IceMAX drill ship, has issued formal notification to BPC of the intended operational start date, being 15 December.

A number of local and international organizations have opposed the operation fearing that an oil spill can harm the marine environment.

The big picture

Minnis’ position has never been clear on the issue since inheriting the legally binding agreement from the Progressive Liberal Party who last held office.

Former prime minister, Perry Christie was once  a consultant to BPC when he was in opposition. And PLP leader Philip Davis’ law firm was BPC’s attorney when it first came to the Bahamas. His law firm no longer serve in that capacity.

What PM Minnis says

Minnis said on Friday, “I am totally against oil drilling in our waters, totally. I have said that before and that has not changed.

“Unfortunately we were saddled with an agreement that we met there and when we discussed it with the legal department we were advised that the commitment and everything was signed and basically we could not get out of it. If we could’ve gotten out of it we would’ve.”

What Bahamas Petroleum Company says

BPC says if oil is discovered in the Bahamas, it has “the capacity to be economically transformative for the nation of The Bahamas,” contributing “billions of dollars in royalty revenues to the national treasury.”

The company boasts that many countries in the region like USA, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Guyana, “have over the past decade safely and responsibly drilled offshore wells, developed or continue to develop offshore hydrocarbon resources.”

Worth noting

President Donald Trump signed an executive order earlier in the year extending a ban on oil drilling off the Florida coastline. It is a reversal of the president’s previous support for oil drilling.

Featured Image: Bahamas Petroleum Company

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