Bahamas Petroleum (BPC) has 100% ownership of offshore exploration licences in the Bahamas. Those with a basic knowledge of geography may dimly remember that the Bahamas used to be joined on to the bit of Africa which includes Nigeria. The hoped for oil field in the Bahamas, is the same oilfield from which Nigeria has drawn so much benefit. Neighbouring Cuba has also confirmed significant prospects of oil close to Bahamian waters.
In early 2010 shares in BPC stood at 3p before spiking to 24p in January 2011, after which, apart from a further spike to 16p in 2012, they went into long term decline as progress seemed hard to find. Now they are at a lowly 2.10p having been up to nearly 2.6p and down to 1.6p in May alone – a good profit range for the brave.
Local opposition on environmental grounds became quite intense and vociferous as people feared drilling could lead to another Gulf of Mexico, causing immense harm to tourism, Bahamas only other industry. The government tried to buy off the objectors with a promise of a referendum but then cleverly argued that it would be better to delay the referendum until after some drilling had taken place and confirmed whether or not there was oil. Hardly any point, the government said, in having a referendum, if in fact there is no oil. The referendum was therefore postponed and the lengthy process began of introducing a completely new statutory and regulatory framework for the as yet unborn oil industry but again this was, it appears, all part of the plan to placate the environmentalists.
So, 2013 passed and 2014 nearly passed before in December, the new legislation went for its first reading to the Bahamian lower house. The 2nd reading which commenced in May 2015, then had to be delayed to allow for amendments which had been tabled earlier, to be incorporated in the legislation. The 2nd reading is now expected to be concluded in the coming weeks, after which there has to be the third reading, the consent of the Senate and finally the assent of the Governor General.
Just as with AMC, Bahamas Petroleum has had to face lengthy and repeated delays but it looks like progress may now be made with the new legislative procedures. After that there is still the question of a referendum in the background but it is believed that the Bahamian people are not going to turn down the jobs and other goodies, which a major oil find will bring them. It may still take a year or perhaps even longer but if positive news start to emerge during the remaining stages, there could be some profitable spikes, before eventual lift off if final approval is given and oil is found in the expected quantities.
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