July 22, 2013 / 7:26 AM / in 5 years

Bahamas Petroleum says exploration licences extended, farm-out talks continue

July 22 (Reuters) - Bahamas Petroleum Co Plc said the Bahamas environment ministry had extended the company’s five exploration licences by a further three years and that it was continuing farm-out talks with interested parties to raise money to begin drilling an exploration well.

Shares in the company rose as much as 20 percent to 4.6 pence at 0720 GMT on Monday on the London Stock Exchange.

The agreement extends the term of the licences to 2016 and requires the company to begin drilling an exploration well by 2015.

The original term of the licences expired last April, following which there was uncertainty over whether they would be renewed as politicians used offshore oil exploration as a rallying point during elections last year.

But the ruling party, which was not in favour of oil exploration, was ousted and the company’s permits were extended by the newly elected government in September, with the drilling of a well subject to a referendum.

Earlier this year, the company’s farm-out talks with interested parties were given a boost after the government decided to defer a referendum on the future of offshore oil exploration in the country, allowing Bahamas Petroleum to proceed with exploratory drilling.

A farm-out is when a company sells an interest in an asset to a third party. (Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)

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