Bahrain: Oil Industry Gears Up To Play Its Part In Economic Transformation

Published April 1st, 2010 - 03:20 GMT

Bahrain is set to increase its gas supplies by at least 1bn cu ft per day by the early 2020s, according to Dr Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs.

Speaking exclusively to Oxford Business Group (OBG), the global publishing, research and consultancy firm, Mirza, who is also Chairman of the National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) and Chairman of the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), outlined the primary initiatives that will allow Bahrain to take its gas production levels over and above those required to meet domestic demand.

“There are twelve initiatives to secure enough quantities of gas to meet the increasing demand. The four main initiatives are: increasing the supply from gas associated with the rising level of production of domestic crude oil which is expected to increase these fields over the next seven years, which is resulting from our agreement with Occidental Petroleum and Mubadala; boosting the quantity of Khuff natural gas flowing by sinking additional wells; the discovery of gaseous hydrocarbons from offshore exploration and production; and the exploration by International Oil Companies for gas reservoirs significantly deeper than the one at Khuff reservoir, the bids for which are currently being evaluated.” he said.

The full interview with Mirza appears in The Report: Bahrain 2010, OBG’s forthcoming guide on the Kingdom’s economic activity and investment opportunities. OBG’s highly-anticipated report will include a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for foreign investors, together with a wide range of interviews with the most prominent political, economic and business leaders.

Mirza acknowledged that the higher of standard of living which Bahrain’s growing population enjoyed had affected import-export ratios for crude, gasoline and natural gas. “In recent years we have seen demand for gasoline and diesel rising by around 7% per annum,” he said. “We have also seen similar growth in demand for jet fuel, as we have received more and more visitors to our country.”

He told OBG that while increases in domestic demand had led to a slight drop in petroleum exports, with figures showing a fall from 85m barrels of petroleum product exported in 2003 to 81m barrels in 2008, imports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, had remained relatively constant. Mirza also voiced his confidence that plans to boost production and refining capacity were still on the cards.

Any suggestion that Bahrain’s economic diversification conflicted with the Kingdom’s oil and gas industry’s operations were dismissed by the Minister, who pointed out that it was revenues from these areas of business, combined with gas availability, that were allowing the economy to expand. “This diversification will be based on revenues generated in the oil and gas industry and NOGA’s role of fuelling economic diversification,” he said. “Therefore, we see ourselves as an enabler of the concept, and in no way are we overshadowed by the strategy.”

The Report: Bahrain 2010 will mark the culmination of more than six months of on-the-ground research by a team of analysts from OBG, assessing trends and developments in all major sectors of the economy. It will provide information on opportunities for foreign direct investment into Bahrain’s economy and will be a guide to the many facets of the Kingdom, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, political landscape, banking and sectoral developments. The report will be available in print form or online.


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