Bahamas Petroleum shares jump after government defers referendum

March 11 Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:27am EDT

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March 11 (Reuters) - Bahamas Petroleum Co Plc said its farm-out talks with interested parties had been given a boost after the government of the Bahamas decided to defer a referendum on the future of offshore oil exploration in the country.

Shares in the company were up 53 percent at 7.28 pence at 0814 GMT, making them among the top percentage gainers on the London Stock Exchange.

The government said on Sunday a referendum would only be conducted once the presence and scale of petroleum reserves had been established, allowing Bahamas Petroleum to proceed with exploratory drilling.

"Farm-out discussions remain ongoing with a number of interested parties and this clarification of the consultation process provides significant impetus and clarity for potential farm-in partners," Bahamas Petroleum said in a statement.

A farm-out is when a company sells an interest in an asset to a third party.

The company had its oil drilling permits renewed by the government in September, ending months of speculation that they would not be extended.

At the time, the company said drilling a well would depend on the outcome of the referendum as a result of which it would not be required to drill a well before April 2013.

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