ChevronTexaco Announces Bahrain Exploration Program

Plans are underway for ChevronTexaco to begin exploratory drilling in Bahrain's eastern offshore area later this year, according to a statement by company officials. "We have a commitment to drill and we will go ahead with it, hopefully in September." The company is hopeful that it will find commercial quantities of hydrocarbons.

Bahrain's government said last September that it had accepted the offers from Texaco, before its merger with Chevron, and Petronas for offshore oil and gas exploration and production.

A seismic survey had been completed in recent years to determine the potential areas for drilling. However, analysis of the survey is still ongoing. The three licensed areas lie in the eastern offshore areas in the territorial waters of Bahrain. ChevronTexaco will explore one of the three areas. The exploration of the other two areas will be conducted by Petronas.

The Bahrain government sought bids from international companies following a ruling by the International Court of Justice in March, which resolved a 62-year-old maritime border dispute with Qatar.

Once commercial quantities of hydrocarbons are found, development of the offshore field could be carried out quickly, according to ChevronTexaco. Due to close proximity of oil facilities on the island of Bahrain, this should allow for accelerated development of any commercial discovery.

Bahrain produces about 37,000 crude oil barrels a day and receives an additional 140,000 barrels a day from the offshore Abu Safa field it shares with Saudi Arabia.