April 23, 2012 / 10:41 AM / 6 years ago

Bahamas Petroleum seeks to allay investor fears

(Reuters) - Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPCB.L) sought to reassure investors on Monday that its drilling permits would be renewed, after local media reports last week raised fears they might not.

“Bahamas Petroleum Company believes it has significantly exceeded all license commitments and obligations with cumulative expenditure in excess of $50 million,” the Bahamas-focused oil firm said in a statement on Monday

Bahamas Petroleum, whose portfolio comprises five exploration licenses in the Bahamas, says on its website that the Bahamas government will renew its licenses for another three years if it commits to drill and spuds a well by April 26, 2013. Its drilling permit expired on Saturday.

“The company is already working to fulfill the increased requirements of this next three-year phase,” it said.

The company’s stock, which lost nearly a third of its value on Friday and saw 163 million shares change hands, rose as much as 23 percent on Monday.

The company expected its permits to be renewed automatically, and the process of obtaining the new permits was ongoing, a person familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Bahamas Petroleum had also not received any official suggestion its permits would not be renewed, the source added.

    “We haven’t heard anything,” the source said.

    The Bahamian government declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Reuters on Friday.

    The company’s stock plummeted on Friday after a local Bahamas publication Nassau Guardian, quoted the country’s Prime Minister as saying he would not permit oil drilling in the Bahamas if he returned to power following the country’s elections next month.

    Shares in the company, which were among the most actively traded on Monday on the London Stock Exchange, were up 5.6 percent at 7.92 pence at 1030 GMT.

    Reporting by Brenton Cordeiro in Bangalore, additional reporting by the Miami newsroom; Editing by Mark Potter

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