Monday, January 25, 2021

Miami Beaches Could Face Harmful Impact of Bahamas Oil Drilling

Environmentalists say oil drilling in the Bahamas could harm Florida coastlines.

Why it matters

  • Florida has an ongoing ban on offshore oil drilling off its coast.
  • Fears are that the exploratory drilling project in the Bahamas could pose a significant risk to Miami’s beaches.

What’s expected to happen today

  • Stena Drilling, the provider of the IceMAX drillship is expected to begin operation today.
  • The provider had given formal notification to Bahamas Petroleum Company of the intended operational start date, being 15 December 2020.
  • BPC says it anticipates that it will take 4-5 days from this start date for the rig to be provisioned, loaded, and then transitioned to the drilling location for spud of the well.
  • The Stena IceMAX is equipped with a Managed Pressure Drilling (“MPD”) system, an advanced well management and drilling safety system that represents the ‘cutting-edge’ of drilling technology currently available. 
Stena IceMax arrived in the Bahamas and is shown anchored near Freeport, Grand Bahama.

What environmentalists say on the risk to Florida

Marc Yaggi, executive director for the Waterkeeper Alliance, a global network that advocates for clean water say the offshore drilling “is inherently risky and inherently dirty.”

He  tells New Times he fears the BPC project has the potential to become the next BP oil spill, which occurred in 2010 when an oil rig exploded. The explosion released enormous amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, where some reached Florida’s shores and killed droves of marine animals.

The big picture

  • Bahamas Petroleum Company believes there are supergiant oilfields to be found in Bahamas waters and is working to find them.
  • Drilling of the first well will be the first in a series of five the company plans to drill around the Bahamas.
  • Prime Minister Hubert Minnis says he opposes oil drilling, much to the delight of local environmentalists who believe the drilling poses harmful risks to the country’s marine environment.

Featured Image: BPC

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