Posted on December 1, 2020
Florida’s waters may be protected from offshore drilling but the Bahamas plans to start looking for oil in less than a month at an exploratory well just 150 miles off the coast of the Sunshine State.
Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) said in a regulatory filing last week that it contracted the UK-registered Stena IceMAX drill ship to begin work on the Perseverance #1 oil well in the southern Bahamas. The ship, currently anchored in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, is scheduled to arrive in the Bahamas on or around Dec. 15, the company said.
“BPC 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,” said the filing.
Environmentalists say the drilling poses a series of potential threats to marine ecosystems in the Caribbean and in Florida, and are urging Bahamian authorities to cancel oil exploration licenses and permanently ban offshore drilling in the islands. They say the risks involved in oil drilling greatly outweigh the potential benefits to the Bahamian people, and that the government should continue to focus on tourism as a key source of revenue.