Bahrain has announced that its newly discovered shale oil reserves are estimated to hold more than 80bn barrels, potentially transforming the moderate oil producer’s future outlook and impact on the international market.
However, Oil Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa told a press conference in Manama that the true amount of recoverable oil has yet to be determined.
The potential oilfield constitutes 2,000 square kilometres and is to be found in shallow waters off the island kingdom's west coast, facing Saudi Arabia.
If the majority of the tight oil reserves can indeed be exploited, the country’s present domestic output of around 50,000 barrels per day, from its long-standing Bahrain Field, will be completely turned around.
Yahya Al Ansari, exploration manager at the Bahrain Petroleum Company, was quoted by the AFP as saying that the pumping of oil would take at least five years to get underway.
He added that in the US shale industry, operators usually expected to extract up to 10% of proven reserves, with current technologies.
The AFP added thatInternational consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton, Halliburton and Schlumberger are collaborating with Bahrain's National Oil and Gas Authorityon the find.