Bahrain Completes State-Owned Oil Company Merger

Bahrain has completed the merger of its two state-owned oil companies which will formally go into effect Saturday, the International Oil Daily announced Thursday.

The Bahrain National Oil Company (Banoco), the Gulf state's upstream and marketing arm, and its refining arm, the Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), "are about to formally launch their merger," said IOD. "The merged entity, which will retain the Bapco name, will assume formal responsibility on June 1," it added.

The reorganization of the two oil companies began in 1999 in a move by the government to cut costs and improve coordination between the refining and marketing operations.

Bahrain's oil production, which amounts to less than 40,000 barrels par day (bpd), is much lower than its crude oil refining capacity of 280,000 bpd. Bahrain's main refinery, in the island of Sitra, processes 260,000 bpd of crude oil, including 220,000 bpd received from Saudi Arabia. About 95 percent of Sitra's output is exported, mainly to India and the Far East.

Saudi Arabia is also exporting crude oil on behalf of Bahrain from the offshore 140,000 bpd Abu Safah field which straddles their maritime border. Initially, Abu Safah's output was split evenly between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, but the Saudis raised the Bahrainis' share in the field to 100 percent as a form of support to the archipelago in the 1990s.