10 December 2020
Bahamas Petroleum Company plc
("BPC" or the "Company")
Response to application for Judicial Review
BPC, the Caribbean and Atlantic margin focused oil and gas company, with exploration, production, appraisal and development assets across the region, notes that an application has been made to the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, for leave to make an application for judicial review of the decision taken by the Government of The Bahamas in February 2020 to grant Environmental Authorisation for BPC's Perseverance #1 well ("Environmental Authorisation") which is expected to spud imminently. The application has been brought by a number of environmental activists. The applicants are also seeking a stay of the Environmental Authorisation pending the outcome of any judicial review, an extension of time to make their application, and have raised a number of other legal arguments in support of their claims. The respondent to the application is the Government of The Bahamas. The applicants have specifically sought to exclude BPC from being heard in relation to this matter. BPC understands that the Government of The Bahamas will oppose the application, and BPC intends to apply to the Court to be heard as a person affected and to oppose the application.
Given that BPC's drilling operations are scheduled to commence before the end of 2020 (and indeed, considerable work has already commenced for those operations), BPC anticipates that the application for a stay will be determined definitively by the Court on an expedited basis, prior to drilling operations commencing. BPC believes the application to be without legal basis or merit and considers that there should be no legal impediment to proceeding with the drilling of the Perseverance #1 well.
Commenting, Simon Potter, CEO of BPC, said:
"Yesterday's application for a judicial review, an extension of time and a stay, from a group of environmental activists, is entirely without merit. BPC will vigorously oppose the application, and we understand that the Government of The Bahamas will be doing likewise. BPC's drilling plans have been public knowledge for almost a decade, and the Government provided Environmental Authorisation to BPC in February 2020, following an extensive program of work. Environmental activists could have sought to bring this application at any time - that they have waited until now, on the cusp of drilling, speaks to their true agenda, which is not any real concern for judicial process but simply to disrupt and stop our lawful activity.
"The Government of The Bahamas is exercising its legitimate, sovereign right to establish if the nation of The Bahamas has its own commercial hydrocarbon resource. With the islands facing economic fragility, suffering from both hurricane damage and the impacts of Covid-19, a successful petroleum discovery has the potential to rebase the economy, generate billions in revenues over the life of the project and create new contracts and jobs. No oil will be produced by Perseverance #1 as it is purely a fact-finding exercise of short duration. The people of The Bahamas have a right to know if this resource is there for them and for future generations of Bahamians. In the past 10 years, many thousands of offshore oil wells have been drilled safely and without incident all around the world, and many other nations in the region such as the USA, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Guyana, have over the past decades safely and responsibly drilled offshore wells, developed or continue to develop offshore hydrocarbon resources, and reaped the economic benefits of an established or a whole new industry. Moreover, these other nations have been able to do so at the same time as seeing growth and development of existing industry sectors, such as tourism.
"The Government of The Bahamas is to be commended for the thorough, comprehensive process of review and scrutiny they put BPC through over nearly a decade around the Environmental Authorisation process for the drilling of the well, as well as for the Petroleum Act and Petroleum Operations related Regulations which were passed into law in 2016. In gaining its Environmental Authorisation, BPC adhered to all applicable Bahamian laws, and over and above this adhered to all applicable guidelines, international standards and best practices. We look forward to proceeding with Perseverance #1 on schedule, and fulfilling our licence commitments to the Government of The Bahamas."
The information communicated in this announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014.
For further information, please contact:
Bahamas Petroleum Company plc
Simon Potter, Chief Executive Officer
Tel: +44 (0) 1624 647 882
Strand Hanson Limited - Nomad
Rory Murphy / James Spinney / Jack Botros
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7409 3494
Shore Capital Stockbrokers Limited - Joint Broker
Jerry Keen / Toby Gibbs
Tel: +44 (0) 207 408 4090
Investec Bank Plc - Joint Broker
Chris Sim / Rahul Sharma
Tel: +44 (0) 207 597 5970
Billy Clegg / James Crothers / Hugo Liddy
Tel: +44 (0) 020 3757 4980
Notes to editors
BPC is a Caribbean and Atlantic margin focused oil and gas company, with a range of exploration, appraisal, development and production assets and licences, located offshore in the waters of The Bahamas and Uruguay, and onshore in Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname. BPC is currently on-track for drilling an initial exploration well in The Bahamas, Perseverance #1, in late 2020 / early 2021, with the well targeting recoverable P50 prospective oil resources of 0.77 billion barrels, with an upside of 1.44 billion barrels. In Trinidad and Tobago, BPC has five producing fields, two appraisal / development projects and a prospective exploration portfolio in the South West Peninsula. BPC's exploration licence in Uruguay is highly prospective, with a potential resource of 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent. In Suriname, BPC has an onshore appraisal / development project.
BPC is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. www.bpcplc.com