The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the Kingdom of Bahrain hosted through the YouTube program an interview with H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Oil, to discuss the latest developments in the oil sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the circumstances of the global Corona virus pandemic and its economic consequences.
At the beginning of the meeting, H.E. the Minister welcomed all participants in this meeting, wishing everyone a safe Ramadan, praising the role played by the Chamber in sponsoring and organizing a number of events that enhance business opportunities and investment between the Arab countries and the United States of America in various projects.
H.E. highly appreciated the meeting organized by the Chamber in cooperation with the Oil and Gas Holding (nogaholding) last year with the major U.S. companies in the field of oil and gas in the state of Houston, the capital of the world's main energy capital to discuss opportunities for investment in the Bahraini energy sector in light of the recent oil discovery and the largest in the history of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Looking forward in strengthening the cooperation between the two sides and taking advantage of the technologies acquired by U.S. oil companies in the field of exploration and supply of logistics and complementary industries.
H.E. the Minister of Oil said in his participation that the world economy today is facing a major problem in light of the global Corona virus pandemic, which managed to stop the global economic movement, which in turn affected all the activities of international companies, which posed a threat to the continuity and survival of these companies in the world markets, stressing the commitment to flexibility, wisdom and good planning at this time that guarantees a better and promising future for the world oil markets. Pointing out the importance of strengthening the role of shared responsibility among all oil producers and standing side by side in order to come up with results and decisions that help this vital industry to survive, continue and prosper.
H.E. added that the Corona virus pandemic has led to a decline in demand for oil unlike in the modern era, and these indicators are worrying for the oil industry, which undoubtedly affects the prosperity and growth of oil development projects. On this basis, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) adopted decisions at its last meeting in March by reducing oil production by 10 million barrels per day from May 1, 2020 for an initial period of two months. Hoping that this global pandemic will soon recede and the economy will flourish again.
H.E. referred to investment opportunities in oil blocks (1,2,3,4) in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which is estimated to have an area of 9,000 square kilometers. Noting that H.E. had recently signed with the Italian company Eni to drill several wells in block 1 and was scheduled to start in April and because of Corona it has been postponed. As all drilling equipment is ready to start drilling. As for block 4, it is located in the Gulf of Bahrain that was recently discovered, where the drilling of the experimental well was completed and began to flow last year and will be added to the production systems soon. Praising H.E. the cooperation with Halliburton company, which provided all its expertise, knowledge and techniques resulting in positive achievements in this field. As two deep gas wells have also been drilled, looking forward to further achievements in the future.
H.E. the Minister pointed out that 50% of the project to upgrade the Bapco Refinery BMP, which is one of the largest ambitious projects in the country at an estimated cost of US$6 billion and a capacity of 400,000 barrels. Praised the good performance and efforts of the executive management of the project to work in the spirit of team work and striving for the project to proceed according to the schedule, despite the negative economic effects of the Corona pandemic. H.E. added that the project will have a significant positive impact on revenues and is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2022.
H.E. the Minister of Oil also announced the completion and launch of the first LNG jetty consisting of a floating storage unit, a port and a sea barrier, a nearby platform for fumigation of liquefied gas to return to its gas state, underwater pipes to transport gas from the platform to the shore and a land gas delivery facility, as well as a land-based nitrogen production facility. As Saudi Arabia are establishing a network of gas pipelines to connect Bahrain with the rest of the GCC countries, which will have a positive repercussion on various levels, particularly the expansion of oil and industrial projects in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
H.E. the Minister stressed the kingdom's keenness to strengthen cooperation in this field with various entities, organizations and specialized companies to exchange ideas and experiences and see the latest technologies for the development of the oil, gas and energy sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain. H.E. noted the importance of encouraging international oil companies to invest in exploration and production in the Kingdom of Bahrain.