Oil company’s stocks plummet
Drop in market value follows PM’s comments
By Candia Dames
Guardian News Editor
Nassau, The Bahamas
Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) stock has lost a fourth of its market value on the heels of a declaration from Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham that his government would not allow BPC to drill for oil.
The company recently said it would seek to renew its licenses with The Bahamas government.
BPC wants government approval to drill an oil well in Bahamian waters by April 2013.
In 2005, BPC began its negotiations with the Christie administration for its various permits and licenses to look for oil in the country’s territorial waters.
Since then, the company has only done 2D and 3D underwater seismic testing to figure out the best areas to drill for oil and get a better handle on the country’s oil potential.
The Nassau Guardian asked the prime minister on Wednesday whether his administration would allow oil drilling in Bahamian waters, and he responded ‘no’.
Ingraham also said, “We are undertaking studies and after that we will see, but we don’t have any plans to drill for oil in The Bahamas.”
He also said certain senior members of the Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) have direct links to BPC.
“They (BPC) are very much tied to Perry Christie and those,” Ingraham said.
“In fact, I think he may be a consultant for them. He is certainly involved with them.”
Ingraham also suggested that attorney Sean McWeeney, a former PLP attorney general, is also tied to BPC.
On its website, under company advisors, BPC lists the law firm Davis & Co., run by PLP Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis, as part of its Bahamian legal team.
McWeeney’s law firm Graham Thompson & Co. is listed as the second firm representing BPC in The Bahamas. McWeeney is a partner in the firm.
On Thursday, Christie told The Nassau Guardian he is a legal consultant for Davis & Co., the law firm which represents Bahamas Petroleum Company.
Christie confirmed that the company benefits from the advice he provides to BPC’s legal team.
Christie said the working relationship with Davis & Co., the law firm owned by Brave Davis, began after his party lost the 2007 general election.
Christie would not say definitively if his administration would allow any company to drill for oil if the PLP wins the election. He said that decision would depend on environmental studies presented to government on the issue.
While in opposition, the PLP has been relatively quiet on the issue of oil drilling in The Bahamas.
Former Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller, however, recently accused the current administration of failing to keep the Bahamian people properly informed on the matter.
Apr 21, 2012