Texaco and Petronas Tapped for Drilling in Bahrain

Texaco and Petronas have been chosen to drill for oil and gas in Bahrain. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Sulman Al Khalifa. It is reported that the cabinet asked Oil Minister Sheikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa to "follow up measures with the two companies to begin drilling." It gave no further details. Earlier this year, international oil firms submitted bids to explore for oil and gas in Bahrain's territorial waters after the World Court ruled on a border dispute with neighboring Qatar.

Bahrain signed an agreement with Chevron Corp in 1998 to drill in northern and eastern offshore areas close to Saudi Arabia. No details were available on the outcome of the company's drilling.

The island state, which was the first Gulf Arab country to find oil in commercial quantities in 1932, also has another agreement with Texaco to study the potential for oil and gas exploration.

Bahrain is an independent oil producer, pumping around 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) from its own fields and gets the entire output of 140,000 bpd from Abu Safa offshore field, which it shares with Saudi Arabia. It also imports around 200,000 bpd of Saudi crude for refining.