When companies, with a globally recognised name like Getty Oil, throw their hundreds of millions behind an oil exploration venture, you just know that play time is over. The big boys have arrived.

J. Paul Getty was the founder of Getty Oil Company around 1915. By 1957, Fortune magazine named him the richest living American. Even though Getty died in 1976, with an estimated net worth of $6 billion, the Getty conglomerate name, family, wealth and philanthropy were world renowned and envied. With this powerful company name and vast resources, coming into the picture , it was certainly seen as a game changer for oil exploration for the Bahamas.

If oil exploration in the Bahamas, could be likened to a card game, then in 1982, it went from ‘go fish’ to high stakes, winner takes all, poker. Getty Oil announced that one of its many subsidiaries had been awarded exploratory licences in the Bahamas, consisting of 50 blocks, covering 4.3 million acres, for an undisclosed bonus amount. It got the world’s attention.

1981 – Multibillion-dollar Getty Oil Wants To Drill For Natural Gas off Northwest Florida Coast

In 1981, Getty Oil was looking for fresh marine supplies of natural gas. Encouraged by the global rise in petroleum prices, Getty Oil was in Florida seeking drilling rights off its Northwest Coast.

Soon, it would be negotiating exploration rights in the Bahamas, the small island nation, just off the coast of southern Florida.

(Tampa Times, Monday, 16 February 1981)

1982 – Getty Oil Announces Substantial Exploratory Licences Were Awarded in the Bahamas For An Undisclosed Bonus Amount

Oil in the Bahamas had been a national and international dream conceived during World War II. With international supplies severely hampered because of the war and with precarious alliances with oil producing countries still to be secured, the Americans were eager to explore any and all potential oil deposits. One of those potential areas was the waters off of Andros, and possibly Grand Bahama.

The Bahamas was going to receive a substantial economic bonus and production royalties, had all the long held oil dreams, come to fruition. Even though the amount negotiated with the government was undisclosed, we can only imagine that it would have been extremely generous.

Interestingly enough, it was oil production royalties which brought Getty his first millions. J. Paul Getty became a multimillionaire in 1915 after investing $10,000 given to him by his father to put into expanding the family’s oil field holdings in Oklahoma. Getty bought, the Nancy Taylor No. 1 Oil Well Site near Haskell, Oklahoma. The well struck oil in August 1915. By by the next summer J. Paul Getty would receive a 40 percent net production royalty. It had made him a millionaire.

(Abbeville Meridional, Tuesday, 04 May 1982)