The Commonwealth of the Bahamas and its offshore areas, located off the southeasternmost tip of the United States, have experienced only cursory petroleum exploration in the past. Between 1947 and 1971 only 4 wells were drilled; however, the region warrants extensive exploration. New portions of the Great Bahama Bank, where water depths are relatively shallow, have been licensed recently to multinational companies. Recent seismic surveys have indicated encouraging stratigraphic data for much of the Florida-Bahama basin.
This chain of about 700 islands covers approximately 300,000 km2 (116,000 mi2) and is characterized by shallow-water carbonate banks that are separated by deep-water channels. Water depths in the Bahamas range from a few meters in the areas immediately adjacent to the islands to as much as 4,000 m (13,120 ft) along the northeast margin of the archipelago.
The Bahamian carbonate platform is underlain by approximately 6 km (3.75 mi) of carbonate and evaporite sediments, making it one of the world’s thickest carbonate sequences. Although the presence of reefs, evaporites, and bank carbonates have made the Bahamas an area of scientific interest to petroleum geologists for many years, very little exploration has been conducted in the region.
New seismic surveys of the region, improved drilling methods, and the application of advanced geophysical techniques and geologic concepts improve the probability that this heretofore neglected region could become a future petroleum province.