|Miller slams BPC|
Guardian Business Editor
Published: Sep 12, 2012
ORLANDO, Florida — The chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) has come out firing against Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC), saying the firm deserves greater scrutiny from the government.
Leslie Miller, who is also a former minister of trade and industry, told Guardian Business that, as a Bahamian, he is "very concerned" about the country's path towards possible oil exploration. He felt more recognized oil conglomerates with proven track records must be brought to the table to discuss any plans going forward.
The hard talk by one of the country's top business and political figures came at the Solar Power International Conference in Orlando yesterday.
Miller and other government officials are touring renewable energy operations in the area and meeting with leaders in the industry to bring new energy solutions to the country.
On Monday, BPC released a statement declaring the Ministry of Environment had found the company's licenses to be in compliance. While a number of environmental concerns remain, the government has waived the requirement for BPC to spud an exploratory well by April 2013 in lieu of a referendum to decide on the issue of oil in The Bahamas.
The chairman of BEC explained he is not against the prospect of oil drilling in The Bahamas. He told Guardian Business that those responsible need to force this company to explain its track record “or go revisit the terms of the contract".
BPC, an oil and gas exploratory company, has an office in Nassau and owns 100 percent interest in offshore licenses exclusively focused on The Bahamas.
Simon Potter, the CEO of BPC, is the former chief executive at Dart Energy, an Australian multinational with worldwide experience. He has more than 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry.
Prior to leading Dart Energy, he served as a senior executive of British Petroleum (BP) in a number of countries.
Another prominent member of the BPC team is Paul Gucwa, the chief operating officer with more than 38 years of experience. Throughout the U.S. and Canada he has worked in a technical and business management capacity developing exploration and production projects. The board of directors is made of up a number of high profile business leaders, both local and abroad, and the company is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
"We obviously think there is a genuine case in terms of the benefits to the economy from the outcome of a positive exploratory well," Potter said this week. "We need to remember, however, that this is just an exploratory activity. We have yet to prove oil is there. We would like to have the chance to drill to establish the possibilities of the region."
While top brass at BPC have international experience with leading oil and gas entities, Miller said major conglomerates with a clear track record should be at the table.
BPC, after investing tens of millions in seismic testing and other expenses, is now seeking a farm-in partner to provide funding and logistical support for future operations.