The oil sector in Bahrain evaluates an offshore discovery...and announces the developments of the "Sitrah" refinery - Energy

The oil sector in Bahrain continues its efforts to boost the industry and complete the development of the Sitra refinery at significant rates, while one of the offshore shale oil discoveries since 2018 is still being evaluated in light of the current market changes and fluctuations in oil prices.

The process of developing the discovery was slow, although the Ministry of Oil in Bahrain aimed to complete it within 5 years since its discovery, with the help of the efforts of international oil companies.

The discovery of offshore shale oil, announced in 2018, includes approximately 80 billion barrels of shale oil, along with 20 trillion cubic feet of offshore gas, according to Standard & Poor’s Global Platts.

Sitra Strainer

Bahrain’s Minister of Oil, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, announced that the Sitra refinery can resume work next year, after completing 80-85% of its modernization program.

The upgrades and modernizations carried out by the oil sector in Bahrain allow the country’s only processing refinery to process new crude, including heavy grades.

Oil in Bahrain
Bahrain’s Oil Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa – Photo by MEED

The repercussions of the Corona pandemic from the lack of supplies and labor prompted the delay in the completion of the upgrades to the oil refinery in Bahrain affiliated with Bapco for a period of nearly a year and a half, until the second half of this year.

The cost of modernizing the Sitra refinery is up to $7 billion, and it can process 400,000 barrels per day with a maximum capacity, and a nominal capacity of 380,000 barrels per day, according to Khalifa’s statements on the sidelines of his participation in the Middle East Oil and Gas Conference held in Manama, today, Monday, May 16 .

The updates raised the refinery’s processing capacity from 267,000 barrels to 400,000 barrels per day, and included building a new line, after abandoning some of the old units.

Khaled Buhaza, General Manager of Marketing at Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), said that the refinery’s development will allow it to process 400,000 barrels per day by the end of 2023, medium distillates such as diesel and jet fuel, while reducing fuel oil production at significant rates.

Offshore shale oil discovery

With regard to the discovery of offshore oil, the Minister of Oil in Bahrain confirmed the suspension of taking a decision on it despite the rise in international oil prices to levels exceeding 66% over prices in 2018, pending the completion of the study of the technical aspects and the role of resources and determining the cost of production.

An agreement was concluded with the American oil services company Halliburton in 2018, during which it is assessing the potential of the field by drilling two exploration wells.

Initial estimates of the discovery raised Manama’s reserves to 3 trillion cubic feet, with a daily production level estimated in 2020, amounting to 579 billion cubic feet per day, according to data from the British oil company BP issued last year.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said that the oil sector in Bahrain aims to work on several projects that will revive assets, by verifying the results of the trial stages in preparation for the start of development.

Oil production in Bahrain

Oil in Bahrain
Abu Safah oil field in Bahrain – Photo by METenders

Oil production in Bahrain has averaged 200,000 barrels per day in recent months, up from levels at the end of last year, estimated at between 180,000 and 190,000 barrels per day.

The Abu Safah field – shared with Saudi Arabia – accounts for the largest share of Bahrain’s oil production quotas, equivalent to 150,000 barrels per day.

The production of the Abu Safah field comes alongside the production of the Bahrain onshore field, which is estimated at 40,000 barrels per day, while the country plans to increase its production capacity from the mature Bahrain field, which was the first producing field for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in 1932.

The Bahraini Nogaholding Company operates the field through the “Tatweer” Company for Oil Products, as its average daily production of crude and condensate amounted to 43,200 barrels of equivalent per day in 2020, along with 1,699,000 cubic feet per day of gas.

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