Bahrain Explores Constructing LNG Export Facility

(Reuters) — Bahrain aims to slash domestic natural gas consumption under a plan to decarbonize its economy and is exploring ways to export the fuel to international markets, the chairman of the kingdom's energy company said.

The Gulf Arab state plans to build solar farms to power its homes and industries, replacing the gas now used, Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, chairman of Bahrain's energy investment and development arm Nogaholding, told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We have ambitious plans to add solar as a source of energy into our grid instead of just wasting our gas," Khalifa said. Some of the solar farms will reside in neighboring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The plan comes as Europe is hunting for new fuel supplies and major gas discoveries in the Mediterranean have led to proposals for new offshore LNG and gas pipelines to Europe.

Bahrain produces around 2 billion cubic feet per day of gas which is used to generate electricity and power its refinery and industry. It also produces around 190,000 barrels per day of oil at an onshore and offshore field, according to Nogaholding.

In 2018, it discovered the Khaleej al-Bahrain field, its largest oil and gas find since 1932, which is estimated to contain at least 80 billion barrels of shale oil.

It is also exploring deep gas formations and will carry out a 3-D seismic survey later this year, he said.

The kingdom is studying the possibility of constructing a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility to export gas in order to capture strong international demand, Khalifa said.

"Floating LNG is difficult to get right now because demand is so high, but my team are approaching a solution for that. It is a world of opportunity for us to explore with partners," he said.

Bahrain has set targets to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2035 and down to net zero by 2060 and will publish a new energy transition plan in the coming months.

Bahrain is also investing $7 billion to expand its Bapco refinery to 400,000 bbl/d from 267,000 bbl/d, Khalifa said.

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