Oil Explorer sees 'Major Risk' removed
04 October 2011
Published On:Tuesday, October 04, 2011
By NEIL HARTNELL
A BAHAMAS-BASED oil exploration company's incoming chief
executive said yesterday's signing of an agreement determining this
nation's maritime border with Cuba removed "a considerable risk" to
its plans, telling Tribune Business it aimed to foster "wealth
creation" in this nation.
Speaking to Tribune Business from Singapore, Simon Potter, who
takes up his post as the Bahamas Petroleum Company's (BPC) head man
on September 17, said the agreement between Nassau and Havana
represented another "step forward in quite a long journey" that the
company hopes will end in the discovery of extractable,
commercially viable quantities of oil.
With four of Bahamas Petroleum Company's five granted licences
on the maritime border with Cuba, determining the precise
boundaries was vital to making further exploration progress in
those areas. The company has also applied for a further three
exploration licences with Statoil, one of which borders Cuba's
Mr Potter told Tribune Business: "We can't influence those major
international decisions, but an agreement between the two
governments removes a considerable uncertainty over the
jurisdiction of the waters.
"It's a removal of the uncertainty, removal of the risk, that
enables us to go forward." He added that yesterday's agreement
effectively brought to an end an issue that had "run its
Mr Potter last night told Tribune Business he planned to visit
the Bahamas on September 23, a natural move given its position as
Bahamas Petroleum Company's forward operations post and centre of
Outlining his aim to build on the foundations left by former
chief executive, Dr Paul Crevello, Mr Potter told this newspaper:
"The most important aspect is growth.
"What we have to do is grow the company, grow the asset base,
and have exploration and drilling results that enable us to
evaluate the potential of the wells.
"The licences have tremendous potential, and what we want to do
at Bahamas Petroleum Company is to definitely evaluate that."
Acknowledging that recent top-level executive changes had
created some investor uncertainty, Mr Potter sought to reassure,
adding: "The company is in a strong position.
"Paul grew the company well, there's an existing team in place,
and it's a matter of taking those individuals and developing the
The latest change was confirmed yesterday, Alan Burns, Bahamas
Petroleum Company's founder and non-executive chairman, stepping
down from that post due to illness, although he will stay on as
president and a Board member.
He is being replaced by Adrian Collins.
Meanwhile, acknowledging the regulatory and environmental
concerns created by the explosion of British Petroleum's (BP)
Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, Mr Potter said the
Bahamas Petroleum Company would comply with whatever laws and
regulations the Government devised.
The firm, he added, would "apply the best and highest standards
that we can". Asked by Tribune Business what economic impact
Bahamas Petroleum Company's operations would have if it uncovered
commercially viable quantities of oil, Mr Potter said this nation
could look to other countries that had made such discoveries.
"It's a great opportunity for wealth creation, not just in
revenues for the Government, but ancillary contracts in the
Bahamas," Mr Potter told Tribune Business.
"That starts from the moment the first drilling rig goes in the
water. There's support services, support vessels, logistics,
catering. There are all sorts of things that ought to be supplied
and maintained from the Bahamas.
"There's many opportunities for wealth creation, job creation
and for the people of the Bahamas to enjoy the fruits of success
that Bahamas Petroleum Company has as we go forward...... It would
certainly be our intention to look at wider sharing of the wealth
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