An oil and gas discovery announced during the weekend off the coast of Bahrain could hold at least 80 billion barrels, the government announced Wednesday.
Bahraini Oil Minister Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Khalifa announced during the weekend that a "substantial" oil and natural gas discovery was made off the nation's west coast. The new resource is forecast to contain highly significant quantities of tight oil and deep gas, understood to "dwarf" Bahrain's current reserves.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Bahrain holds 124.6 million barrels of oil reserves, which ranks 27th in the world. The state-run oil and gas authority said Wednesday the discovery holds at least 80 billion barrels of oil.
Bahraini Oil Minister Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Khalifa said the find was highly significant and could contain an additional 20 trillion cubic feet in natural gas reserves.
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"Agreement has been reached with Halliburton to commence drilling on two further appraisal wells in 2018, to further evaluate reservoir potential, optimize completions, and initiate long-term production," he was quoted by the official Bahrain News Agency as saying.
Halliburton had no public comment on the announcement. The government said it planned to start drilling into the prospects by August.
First oil from the Bahrain oil field came in 1932 at a rate of 9,500 barrels of oil per day. At its peak in 1970, capacity was around 79,000 barrels per day.
Total production from Bahrain, which isn't a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is around 200,000 barrels per day. Output from the Bahrain oil field started to decline about a decade ago and most of the offshore oil comes from the Abu Saafa field, which yields around 150,000 barrels per day.
The discovery, Khalij al-Bahrain, could be put into production within the next five years.
By Daniel J. Graeber
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