Bahrain has announced a new discovery off its west coast that is estimated to contain at least 80 billion barrels of oil, as well as deep gas reserves.
Appraisals by US-based oil consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton and oilfield services company Halliburton had also independently confirmed the find.
Bahrain’s Oil Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Khalifa was quoted by Reuters as saying that the kingdom’s new discovery has ‘significant quantities of oil in place … with tight oil amounting to at least 80 billion barrels, and deep gas reserves in the region of 10-20 trillion cubic feet’.
Tight oil is a type of light crude oil found in shale deep below the earth’s surface. It is extracted with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, through deep horizontal wells.
The minister added: “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.”
It is yet to be ascertained how much of the estimated 80 billion barrels can be recovered. The country is hopeful of attracting overseas oil and gas firms to develop the resources.
In a statement, Bahrain’s National Communication Centre said: “The newly discovered resource, which officials expect to be ‘on production’ within five years, is expected to provide significant and long-term positive benefits to the kingdom’s economy – both directly and indirectly through downstream activities in related industries.”
Bahrain is a non-OPEC oil producer in the Gulf region. It has approximately 200 million barrels of proven reserves. It draws its oil revenues from two fields: onshore Bahrain field, and offshore Abu Safah field, which it shares with its powerful neighbour Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain field was discovered in 1932 and produces 50,000 barrels per day of crude oil, while Abu Safah produces another 150,000 barrels daily.