A judge in The Bahamas has refused to grant any orders that would affect Bahamas Petroleum Corporation's current operations in the country, meaning that the drilling of Perseverance #1 well, spudded on December 20, will continue. Further hearings, however, will be held.
To remind, environmental groups early in December 2020 made an application 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., with an ultimate goal to prevent drilling altogether.
BPC said Wednesday that the Honourable Justice Petra Hanna-Weekes had provided her ruling "on various matters," related to the drilling operations in the Bahamas.
"The Honourable Justice Petra Hanna-Weekes has refused to grant any orders that would affect BPC's current operations. This means that the drilling of Perseverance #1 will continue," BPC said. BPC is drilling the well using the Stena Icemax drillship.
BPC further said that the application from Environmentalists against the Government of The Bahamas to seek leave to bring judicial review proceedings in respect of various decisions taken by the Government in relation to BPC's licenses in The Bahamas had been granted; and a timetable for further hearings has been established.
A hearing to determine if BPC should be formally added as a party to the action will be held on January 14, 2021. At this hearing, The Honourable Justice Petra Hanna-Weekes will also provide further directions relating to future hearings.
A further hearing to determine the Government's request for security for costs against the applicants will be heard on 22 January 2021.
After that, a hearing in relation to the substantive judicial review will be held either in mid-February 2021, or during March 2021, depending on the availability of the Court and the parties, with a ruling on the substantive application to follow at some point thereafter, BPC said.
BPC CEO: Last-minute attempt to interrupt drilling failed
Simon Potter, CEO of BPC, said: "Today's Court ruling means that the drilling of Perseverance #1 will continue, in accordance with our licenses obligations, and consistent with the permits issued to the Company by the Government of The Bahamas.
"Those drilling operations, which have been underway since 20 December 2020, have the well on track to provide results within the 45 - 60 days period the company has consistently advised. It is thus clear now that the applicants have failed in their last-minute attempt to interrupt the drilling of Perseverance #1 and the Government's legitimate assessment of hydrocarbon resource potential in its southern seas. This is a very positive outcome for the completion of the Perseverance #1 well."
The Perseverance #1 well is located in water approximately 520 meters deep and is planned to be drilled to a target depth of 4,822 meters, but with the capability to be able to reach 5,600 meters, affording the ability to evaluate multiple reservoir horizons throughout the entire stratigraphic column below the Tertiary cover.
The well has been designed specifically as an exploration well, with the sole objective of establishing the presence of hydrocarbons through a range of tests that will be conducted as the well is drilled.
Perseverance #1 has not been designed to ever operate as a production well, such that at the conclusion of the drilling program the well will be permanently sealed and then abandoned.