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Oil Explorer: BISX Listing "High Priority"

02 November 2011

OIL EXPLORER: BISX LISTING 'HIGH PRIORITY'

Published On:Wednesday, November 02, 2011

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

A BAHAMAS-BASED oil exploration company yesterday said listing on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX) was "a high priority" for it, having met with the exchange's principals to see how it could facilitate Bahamian equity participation in its potential success.

Simon Potter, the Bahamas Petroleum Company's chief executive, told Tribune Business it was too early to determine what form of listing it might seek on BISX, but advisers had been appointed to determine the most appropriate route to take.

The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) is already listed on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM), so any BISX listing would likely be a secondary one. However, Mr Potter described listing in the Bahamas as "fundamental to me", given that the company's assets and operational nexus was focused entirely on this nation.

"BPC's assets are in the Bahamas," he told Tribune Business. "We are essentially looking to be a Bahamian entity, with Bahamian directors, and are looking for a listing on the Bahamian stock exchange, the BISX.

"What form that will be, I can't say, but in terms of the strategic direction I get asked a lot by people how they can invest in this company, and to the extent this company makes capital gains, equity gains, it will be good for Bahamians to share in that."

Mr Potter said he was already talking to advisers to determine how a BISX listing can be achieved, how quickly it can be done, and what the "optimum role" of such a listing would be.

The Bahamas Petroleum Company, he explained, wanted to explore what such a listing would "look like", and how it would work in conjunction with its main AIM listing.

"It's a high priority, put it that way," Mr Potter said of the Bahamas Petroleum Company's BISX listing plans. "I've met with the exchange, yes."

He added that raising capital would not be the primary goal associated with a BISX listing, the main driver being to enable Bahamian investors to participate in the Bahamas Petroleum Company's success and upside if it struck commercially viable quantities of oil in this nation's waters.

"We are fully capitalised for what we want to do, and need to do, at the moment," Mr Potter told Tribune Business. "So the intention of having the listing here is not necessarily to raise capital...

"The issue is to enable Bahamians to participate in potential wealth creation associated with Bahamas Petroleum Company. The primary driver is to allow Bahamians to participate in wealth creation through equity gains."

While it was still "early days" for Bahamas Petroleum Company and Mr Potter's career as its chief executive, he said that all those he had met in the Bahamas were "very welcoming and interested in Bahamas Petroleum Company's story and ambitions, and what we want to do over the coming months".

While the potential discovery of any oil fields in the Bahamas is some way off, the Bahamas Petroleum Company's activities - if successful - would tick all the boxes addressed by Standard & Poor's downgrade of this nation's sovereign credit rating, namely economic growth, diversification, jobs and government revenues.