The recent discovery off the coast of Bahrain is estimated to contain at least 80 billion barrels of tight oil, the kingdom’s biggest ever find, which it hopes to produce within five years, according to the Bahraini Oil Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Khalifa.
Independent appraisals by US-based oil consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton and oilfield services company Halliburton had confirmed Bahrain’s find with tight oil amounting to at least 80 billion barrels, and deep gas reserves in the region of 10-20 trillion cubic feet. An agreement has been reached with Halliburton to commence drilling on two further appraisal wells in 2018, to further evaluate reservoir potential, optimise completions, and initiate long-term production al-Khalifa said during a press conference.
In light of Bahrain’s junk rating by all three major credit ratings agencies, the newly discovered resource is expected to provide significant and long-term positive benefits to the kingdom’s economy.
Sadad al-Husseini, a former senior executive at Saudi Aramco and now an energy consultant, said the discovery was positive news for Bahrain, but more data gathering, evaluation and well testing needed to follow to determine whether there are any future commercial opportunities in the resources, according to Reuters.
He said that converting resource estimates to reserves is an intense and costly process and not all the resources may ultimately be upgraded to reserves and that the additional drilling and data gathering will serve to improve the accuracy and reliability of the estimate.
Bahrain has approximately 124.6 million barrels of proven reserves, and currently gets it oil revenues from two fields: the onshore Bahrain field, and the offshore Abu Safah field, which is shared jointly with Saudi Arabia. The Bahrain field, produced around 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2015, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and Bahrain and Saudi Arabia split annual revenues from the 300,000 bpd Abu Safah offshore field where production is overseen by Saudi Aramco.
The Bahraini government earned $4.3 billion in oil and gas revenue last year and ran a budget deficit of $2.7 billion.