Bahrain Petroleum Co. (Bapco) said Saturday, June 9, it is to hold talks with 15 foreign and local banks to raise $650 million in financing for a refinery modernization aimed at adapting to market demands.
Bapco officials, quoted by Bahrain's GNA news agency, said the funding would be raised by the end of 2001 and the project completed by 2004. The talks are to be held in June and July.
Bahrain produces around 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and receives the entire output of 140,000 bpd from an offshore field shared with Saudi Arabia. It exports only refined products, not crude.
The modernization project will upgrade Bapco's low-sulphur fuel oil and fluid catalytic cracking sectors, which now use 30-year-old pneumatic technology, with state-of-the-art electronics.
The largest chunk of the investment will go toward lowering sulphur content to 0.05 percent from 0.75-1.0 percent.
The state-owned refinery was built in 1963 and its current capacity is 250,000 bpd. More than 90 percent of its products are exported to Asia or other Gulf states.
In the wake of a World Court settlement with Qatar in March over territorial claims, Bahrain has set a deadline of June 30 for foreign oil companies to bid for oil and gas exploration in previously disputed waters. — (AFP)
© Agence France Presse
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)