Nov 18

BPC urged to stand down, warned of possible legal action

November 18, 2020 at 4:34 pm Eyewitness News

With court review looming, concerned Bahamians warn against mobilizing the Stena IceMAX drill ship

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) was put on notice today that its plan to drill an offshore exploratory well will be hit with legal action if the company does not agree to halt all activities pending a court review of its environmental authorization process.

In an update to its investors yesterday, BPC confirmed it is on track to spud its exploratory well within six weeks, with the company indicating that it plans to complete all well activities prior to mid-April 2021.

But oil drilling opponents say they will apply for an injunction that bars the company from starting to drill at the same time as they ask the local court to vet the circumstances under which BPC’s licences were granted, a legal process known as a judicial review.

In the meantime, they urged BPC to cease and desist from its plan to immediately mobilize the drill ship Stena IceMAX, currently in the Canary Islands but set to head for The Bahamas before the end of the month.

According to grassroots coalition Our Islands, Our Future, BPC has now officially been warned that its environmental approvals are being challenged and the company should not insist on launching the IceMAX or taking any other steps towards drilling in defiance of the judicial review process.

“To be clear, we intend to stop BPC from drilling in Bahamian waters,” said Rashema Ingraham, executive director of Waterkeeper Bahamas and a member of the coalition steering committee. “We are very encouraged by the huge support, both local and international, that we continue to receive. Over 100 businesses and organizations have joined the Our Islands, Our Future coalition, and 40,000 concerned individuals have signed the petition. The petition numbers are growing every day.

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