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Bahamas Petroleum cleared to drill Perseverance-1

…raises new capital to support drilling, production

Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) has continued with the drilling of Perseverance-1 well after the Supreme Court of The Bahamas dismissed an application for judicial review of the Government’s approval of an environmental authorisation.

The ruling from the court also dismissed a stay (halt) order on BPC’s drilling activities and, therefore, clears the company to proceed with exploration of the well in the southern Bahamas waters.

“As indicated in BPC’s announcement of Thursday, 24 December 2020, on that day, at a hearing of the [Supreme] Court, the Honourable Justice Petra Hanna-Weekes, following her consideration of the relevant documents, refused the applicants leave to apply for judicial review of the decision by the Government of The Bahamas in February 2020 to grant BPC Environmental Authorisation to proceed with the drilling of Perseverance #1,” a release from BPC outlined.

The Stena Ice Max has begun drilling of the Perseverance-1 well for Bahamas Petroleum Company (File photo)

BPC also cites the Supreme Court judge saying, on December 26, 2020, that she based her ruling “on the papers” — solely on the basis of written materials provided by parties to the court, without any parties making oral submissions.

More hearings to come

Still, the applicants — a group of environmentalists that include OCEANA — indicated that they will renew the application for leave, though Justice Hanna Weeks indicated that she would hear oral arguments from the group on December 29.

Oceana is one of the environmental organisations that has used legal proceedings to stop Bahamas Petroleum Company from drilling the Perseverance-1 well. (File photo)

BPC has provided no further update on the legal matter since. However, according to Proactive Investors, a UK-based research company, “A hearing will now take place on January 14 to determine whether Bahamas Petroleum should be formally added as a party to the action.”

Proactive Investors also noted that there will be a hearing in relation to the substantive judicial review in in February or March 2021, with a ruling on the substantive application to follow at some point thereafter.

‘Very positive outcome’

In the meantime, BPC CEO Simon Potter has described the judgment as a “very positive outcome” for the company.

“Today’s court ruling means that the drilling of Perseverance #1 will continue, in accordance with our licences obligations, and consistent with the permits issued to the company by the Government of The Bahamas,” he said in a statement last Thursday.

CEO of Bahamas Petroleum Company Simon Potter (File photo)

And while BPC bide its time before another hearing, it has embarked on raising £3.75 million in new capital, from a share offer, to support its operations in The Bahamas.

“Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC has exercised a put option to raise a further £3.75mln, as a result of shares being issued, to support the ongoing Perseverance well programme,” Proactive Investors wrote in a note on its website today.

“A total of 187.5mln new shares were issued at a price of 2p each. It means that, if remaining available funding sources are drawn in full, the company will complete its funding strategy with an aggregate of US$72mln raised for Perseverance — a 770mln barrel exploration target,” the research company continued.

According to the note, BPC will use the new capital to fund its operations at Perseverance-1 as well as support an extensive 2021 work programme across the company’s suite of production, appraisal, and development assets.

BPC is also conducting oil production activities in Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago — the latter after a full acquisition of shares in Trinidad-based Columbus Energy.