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The Proposal to Drill Oil in Bahamas
The proposal to drill oil in Bahamas is based on the 1971 Bahamas Petroleum Act that allowed for the provision of permits and licenses to companies for the exploration of oil in Bahamas. The Bahamas Petroleum Company is one such company interested in the exploration and whose license was renewed for offshore drilling operations in search of oil deposits. Oil exploration is essential in seeking for oil deposits and determining whether the deposits can be exploited economically. Such exploration needs to be guided by a strong policy and legal foundation, since oil is a valuable natural resource that can lead to political and economic controversies if not properly managed. According to the Bahamian newspaper, The Tribune, prominent business people are pushing lawmakers to ease limitations on the exploration of oil and natural gas, as the way to reduce the nation’s $4-billion-plus national debt. The income derived from the oil industry, if discovered, will help in paying off some of this debt as well as improve the economy. However, the proposal to drill oil in the Bahamas has been faced with many challenges due to the politicizing of the issue as well as the negative impacts that the activity may have on the area and its residents. The British Petroleum (BP) company oil spill of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico made the residents even more reluctant to embrace the proposal to drill oil in the country. Bahamas is a mainly dependent on tourism as an economic activity and is rich in culture which is one of the tourist attractions in the area. Tourism and culture of the people are some of the areas that are feared will be adversely affected by allowing the drilling of oil in Bahamas in addition to effects on the environment. However, the benefits to be accrued from drilling oil in the area are numerous compared to the disadvantages that are making people hesitant about embracing the idea.
Benefits of Oil Drilling in Bahamas
Oil is a great economic resource that continues to influence the world’s economy. Indeed it runs the world’s economy. Countries that drill oil are in a better position to enhance their economic development due to its demand in the world. The drilling of oil in the Bahamas will provide the country with an alternative source of income from tourism. It will provide job opportunities to the residents as well as a source of revenue once oil has been discovered. Tourism currently accounts for 60 per cent of the national income, and 70%b of the countries population is employed in this industry (Haggett 521). The country currently relies heavily on tourism for its income with most of the residents employed in the industry. One of the critical bottle necks is that the country’s tourist attractions will be destroyed as the oil companies explore for oil in the countries. This includes areas such as beaches and islands. The issue has, however, been addressed in the regulations set for the companies which are interested in exploring oil in the country. This is meant to ensure that companies which drill the oil do not leave the environment degraded but make sure it is maintained to the present condition. “The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) recently backed permitting oil exploration in the country once regulatory safeguards were in place” (Bahamas 2012). This shows that key stakeholders in the country have a strong resolve and commitment to ensuring proper regulations are put in place before they can back the project. These stakeholders will also act as watchdogs in ensuring the companies keep their word. The Bahamas should set this out as one of the conditions for companies to be allowed to explore for oil. Impact assessment reports will also be required to determine the approximate damage to the environment and to outline mitigation measures as well as how to restore the environment once they are done. In doing this, the tourism attraction sites will not be destroyed, and hence tourists will still be able to participate in activities such as kayaking in the waters without a problem.
Apart from tourism, other benefits that will be gained from drilling oil include job creation, higher income and construction of infrastructure to facilitate the industry. Job opportunities will be created as a result of the oil industry which will require drillers and other types of workers. A big percentage of this will be from the local residents, and hence people will benefit from this (Griffith 312). In addition, other businesses will spring up as a result of the industry thereby making more jobs available. More people will be employed and thus improve their economic standing by providing them a source of livelihood. Revenue from the industry will be part of Bahamas’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) thereby contributing to its growth. The country will have a better economy due to higher income and hence be more prosperous and developed. The advancement of the oil industry will lead to a better infrastructure system being developed in the region to facilitate it. This will include better roads and communication systems that will benefit everyone in the country and especially those living within the area. The industry will, therefore, lead to a better developed country as well as an elevated rate of employment due to availability of jobs. In addition, the standard of living in the country is likely to rise due to the presence of the industry in the country. These are some of the benefits that the country will be accessible to once the drilling of oil begins in the Bahamas.
Another major concern for the Bahamas residents is the cultural impact of oil drilling in the country. This is one of the casualties of the drilling of oil. Culture is also a significant tourism attraction in Bahamas as tourists visit the country in order to take part and experience the culture. The .............
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