Oil Exploration – Present
Oil & Gas activity already exists in The Bahamas
In Bahamian waters the incremental risk associated with new drilling is modest in the context of the risk profile that already exists.
The region is crossed by many international shipping lanes, the Old Bahama Channel alone carrying three million barrels (over 120 million gallons) a day, which is only likely to increase with the expansion of the Panama Canal and with access to the deepwater port at Grand Bahama. Regular inter-island transport carries fuel through narrow, shallow seaways. There is considerable existing oil production activity and associated refining and terminal capacity. Lastly, in The Bahamas, there is considerable storage and transshipment facilities, most notably the BORCO facility in Grand Bahama the largest in the Caribbean region, and global in scale. Each of these major activities are heavily regulated in Cuba, the United States and The Bahamas (see Page 30). The Bahamas Government is a signatory to many international codes of practice, conventions and cooperative agreements including MARPOL, OPRC and OSPR, as well as specific maritime legislation. The Bahamas has its own oil spill contingency planning coordination group and is a member of the regional Caribbean coordinated response group. Bahamas Petroleum Company is already a member of the Oil Spill Response Group (formerly CCA), with access to their global resources.
Over and above this The Bahamas Government has recently modernised and strengthened its Petroleum legislation and attendant regulations to govern oil exploration activity. These regulations combine best practices identified in a variety of leading jurisdictions – including new procedures and equipment requirements adopted post the Gulf of Mexico incident – to reflect the most up-to-date risk management practices and mandate the use of the best technology suitable – including capping stack and/or top hat technologies. Past Bahamian Government delegations to Havana highlight the level of cooperation between the respective governments and the premium placed on the coordination of regulatory regimes.
Bahamas Oil Refining Company International Limited (BORCO) at Freeport Industrial Port, Bahamas, is the largest oil storage facility in the Caribbean.
South Riding Point is another transhipment facility in Freeport.
Photo: Tor Anfinssen/Statoil ASA.
Each of these oil and gas related activities are heavily regulated in The Bahamas and the adjacent countries of the region