By Mohammad Al-Enezi, Jamil Al-Mahari MANAMA, July 21 (KUNA) -- With a view to meeting a growing demand in local market, Bahrain considers signing agreements with international companies to dig deeper wells to discover more gas, Bahrain Energy Minister Dr. Abdulhussain bin Ali Mirza said.
In an interview with (KUNA), Mirza revealed that the proposal was made by a consulting company hired by the Ministry to find a way for increasing gas output.
"The consulting company has proposed drilling wells deeper than existing ones, whose depth are around 16,000 feet for the possibility discovering additional quantities of gas," Mirza said.
He disclosed that the government has recently signed a seven-year agreement with the US-based Occidental Petroleum Corporation for exploring gas in Bahrain Well, adding that drilling operations will begin soon.
Bahrain produces approximately 1.3 million cubic feet of gas per day on average, the minister said, noting that production capacity of gas from the Bahrain Well will increase soon.
"It will be possible to raise gas production from summer peak of about 1.9 million cubic feet per day to 2.7 million cubic feet a day by 2024," he said.
With regard to Bahrain's efforts to buy gas from other countries, Mirza said Bahrain was seeking to secure the future needs of natural gas through importing gas from neighboring countries, including Qatar and Iran.
"As regards the Kingdom's efforts to import Qatari gas, Bahrain is topping the list of countries to be supplied with Qatari gas. But Qatar is a temporarily freezing export of any new quantities of gas pending completion of some studies on the productivity of the North Field, which will hopefully be completed in coming few years," he said.
He also revealed that Bahrain has signed a framework agreement with Iran in October 2008, but they did not complete negotiations due to differences over the price.
"And negotiations have been frozen in the present time," he said.
He noted that Bahrain was considering the possibility of importing gas from natural gas-rich nations Russia or Turkmenistan, stressing that the diversity of options for importing gas is crucial in the energy policies of the Kingdom.
He explained that the import of LNG by ship is considered integral to import gas through pipelines and is not a substitute.
"The option to import liquefied natural gas despite of its high cost because of the high price of gas worldwide, transportation costs and the need for special infrastructure in ports, provides a source of reserve for energy security," he noted.
Mirza went on to say that importing gas by ship gives greater flexibility than importing gas by pipeline as it allows Bahrain to import gas from any exporter in the world.
He stated that the National Oil and Gas has identified locations to set up a special port to receive liquefied natural gas in north-eastern industrial area of Salman.
"The Commission received in April nine bids from oil and gas companies to enter into a global tender to import liquefied natural gas to the kingdom and it will evaluate the bids and choose the winner before the end of the year." (end) mag.jmm.ibi KUNA 212059 Jul 11NNNN