Bahrain has set a deadline of mid-May for oil majors to submit bids for exploration rights in Gulf waters whose sovereignty was disputed until a World Court ruling last month, newspapers reported Sunday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, chairman of Bahrain's Supreme Oil Council, set the deadline for tenders for oil and gas exploration and drilling in southern and eastern parts of the country.
Technical and legal experts will be appointed to evaluate the offers, he said at a council meeting on Saturday.
Oil and Industry Minister Sheikh Issa bin Ali al-Khalifa, whose country is a small non-OPEC oil producer, briefed the council on land surveys that have been conducted in preparation for drilling works.
Bahrain, which in 1932 became the first Gulf Arab monarchy to produce oil, has seen its reserves plunge and badly needs to discover new fields.
It produces around 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) and receives the entire output of 140,000 bpd from an offshore field shared with Saudi Arabia. Bahrain does not export crude, only refined products from a 250,000 bpd refinery.
Bahrain and Qatar on March 16 settled a decades-old territorial dispute through a ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The court endorsed Bahrain's sovereignty over the Hawar islands and Qitat Jarada island, but the Zubara strip stayed in the hands of the Qatari peninsula, which was also awarded the Fasht al-Dibel rocks and Jinan island.
Qatar, which already has the world's third largest gas reserves after Russia and Iran, has since announced that it will start exploration of the Fasht al-Dibel natural gas fields.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)