Analytical Instrumentation

How Big is Bahrain's Discovery?

Apr 11 2018 Read 342 Times

Compared to top tier producers like the UAE and Russia, Bahrain isn't on the oil and gas majors map. In fact, it's the smallest energy producer in the Persian Gulf. Now, the island state asserts that it's hit its biggest oil find since 1932. According to finance minister Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, the new discovery dwarfs current reserves and could represent up to 80 billion barrels of inventory.

For decades, Bahrain has been overshadowed by its fellow Persian Gulf producers. It's sandwiched between Saudi Arabia, the market's largest oil exporter, and Qatar, the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas. While Bahrain's current reserves sit at 124.6 million barrels of crude and 92.03 billion cubic meters of natural gas, the new find could catapult it into the big league.

Billion barrel hopes for the Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin

The shale oil and natural gas reservoir was discovered in a deposit off the country's west coast, with experts predicting that its size and extraction viability could provide a much-needed boost to the country's oil and gas industry. It's known as the Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin, with Bahrain Oil Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa commenting, “Initial analysis demonstrates the find is at substantial levels, capable of supporting the long-term extraction of tight oil and deep gas.”

As well as tapping into the Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin, the country also plans to ramp up output at its existing Bahrain Field. By the end of the decade capacity should rise from 45,000 barrels of oil a day to 100,000 barrels a day.

Bahrain set to rival Russia

Ultimately, the nation hopes to reinvigorate its oil and gas industry, which slumped by 43% from 2013 to 2016. As energy sales account for almost 90% of the government's total income, breathing new life into the industry is a top priority. The Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin will do just this and could see the country rival the likes of Russia when it comes to reserves.

Of course, after signing a Declaration of Cooperation with OPEC Bahrain will encounter hurdles when it comes to firing up its oil industry. It's currently bound by a global agreement that obliges cooperative members to voluntarily adjust oil production as part of the cartel's strategy to reduce global inventories and stabilise prices. While Bahrain's current figures are nominal, the Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin discovery coupled with increased activity at the Bahrain Field could garner opposition from OPEC.

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