By Mohammad Al-Enezi and Jamil Al-Mahari
(with photos) MANAMA, June 6 (KUNA) -- Bahrain is seeking to upgrade capacity of the national oil refinery from 267,000 barrels per day to approximately 400,000 bp at a projected cost of USD six billion, the Minister of Energy said on Monday.
Abdul Hussein Mirza said in an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BABCO) has recently finalized the first phase of upgrading the refinery, thus the company can put out larger amounts of high-grade bi-products such as gasoline, kerosene and diesel.
With the prospected completion of the second phase of the mega project, BABCO will produce high-grade bi-products, but larger sums must be invested -- USD 5-6 billion, Mirza said.
Moreover, Bahrain is pondering a plan to renovate the oil pipeline between the kingdom and Saudi Arabia, built in 1945. Manama imports 230,000 barrels of crude per day from the neighboring kingdom, pumped through this pipeline. The imported Saudi crude is refined locally.
"Currently, we are studying possibility of altering the course of this pipeline and replacing it with a larger one with a capacity of 350,000 barrels per day," Mirza said, shedding further light on the kingdom scheme to develop the oil sector.
Considering this amount of crude, in addition to the larger output from Bahrain oil field, this "would mean hiking the refining capacity of the Bahrain refinery from 267,000 barrels per day to 350,000-400,000 barrels per day," he added.
Plan for replacement of the oil pipelines between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia is in the phase of final designing, he said, indicating that the cost of this project, due to finish in the end of 2014, was forecast at USD 350 million.
Mirza indicated that Bahrain hope to share the cost of installing a new pipeline with Saudi Arabia.
On planned development of the oil field, he said Bahrain National Gas and Oil Authority has recently signed an agreement for developing the field, with the aim of lifting its capacity from 30,000 bpd to 100,000 bpd.
The output capacity of the crude is projected to remain at 100,000 bpd till 2028, he said, adding that the storage capacity of gas at the field would be hiked from 1.5 billion cubic feet per day to 2.7 billion cfpd in 15 years.
On oil exploration at sea, Mirza indicated that drilling for the crude would begin next year. (end) mga.jmm.rk KUNA 061132 Jun 11NNNN