Environment and Safety
- Following acceptance of The Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) by the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology (BEST)
Commission and publication on the Commission's website
(http://ww.best.bs/index.html), the Company has continued its
environmental studies required ahead of the drilling of a
well. These studies are extensive and have formed the basis
for considerable community engagement meetings throughout the
Bahamas including the 'Family Islands'.
- As continued preparation for an Environmental Management Plan
and having completed preliminary 'worst case discharge'
calculations in the prior year, preparation for completion of an
Oil Spill Response Plan was furthered during the course of the
- A study of the surface and shallow subsurface conditions around
potential drill sites, completed by Geoscience Earth and Marine
Services ('GEMS') itentified no potential drilling hazards and led
to 'Site Clearance Letters' being issued. The Company has
however investigated further additional likely drill sites.
- Interpretation of the multibeam survey collected over a portion
of the southern Licences. This has been further utilised
during the course of the year to identify potential sinkholes, gas
and oil seeps to the surface and into the seabed.
- The Company, as part of its environmental management plan, has
collected detailed data through consultation with local islanders,
scientific experts, local fishermen, government agencies, local
environmental non-governmental organisations and local research
organisations highlighting critical and natural wildlife
communities, their activities and habitats all to be combined into
Environmental Sensitivity Maps. Showing such things as the
turtle nesting beaches, blue holes, important birding areas, coral
reefs, sea grass beds and wetlands etc., generation of comparative
indices is depicted on a series of Environmental Sensitivity
Maps and Environmental Sensitivity Index Maps.
- The existing study 'Transport and Fate of Water and Oil
Particles Released in the Straits of Florida' is specific to a
defined area. Additional, alternate well locations were and
are being investigated to provide different geological, drilling
and cost options. This requires that the original study be
revisted to assure validity and currency.
- The Company was a member of the Clean Caribbean and Americas
Association to ensure adequate access to oil spill response
capabilities, equipment and expertise. In the year this
association was taken over by the larger entity, the Oil Response
Group, and the company elected to continue with membership of this
enlarged group. Considerable ongoing planning has sourced a
level of emergency and remedial equipment that would be available
in support of an exploration well and in the unlikely event of an
associated incident or threat.
The Company has also continued its focus on environmental and
safety related studies. The EIA previously submitted included
an extensive particle transport simulation study illustrating the
potential distribution of any particulate matter derived from a
simulated well site. This comprehensive study shows that
virtually no spilled oil would reach The Bahamas' beaches nor
Marine Protected Areas and preparedness will need to be focused on
intervention between the potential well site and Cuba. These
results were presented during a visit to Cuba to appreciate their
response capabilities and processes.
Studies/work completed or underway include:
- Assessment of support available from Oil Spill Response Limited
- a joint industry group established to provide emergency response
and equipment in the unlikely event of an accident - and
integration into planning.
- Completed calculation of 'Worst Case Discharge'.
- An evaluation of sea bottom and shallow subsea drilling hazards
in the vicinity of possible drill sites using multibeam and 3D
seismic data was completed.
- An evaluation of the sea bottom over a large portion of the
Company's Southern Licence area based on the multibeam data.
- External consultants to begin Environmental Management Plan
- Contracted with international company to prepare Oil Spill
- Contracted with ADTI to provide initial well planning.
This plan incorporates previous drilling in the area along with the
3D and multibeam data collected previously.
- Developed methodology for the collection of data to aggregate
as Environmental Sensitivity Maps to delineate critical and natural
wildlife communities, their activities and habitats throughout
- More detailed classification of coastlines on a 5 km by 5 km
grid to provide an index of priorities for the marshalling of
resources and prioritisation of response in the event of a threat