By WAEL MAHDI
Bahrain Petroleum Co. expects to complete in 2019 an upgrade of its only refinery that will increase its processing capacity by 35%, CEO Adel al-Moayyed said.
Bapco, as the company is known, plans to start work on upgrading the Sitra refinery in 2015 to boost its capacity to 360,000 bpd from 267,000 bpd currently, he said by phone.
Bapco, and Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, are in final stages of approving work on enlarging a pipeline that carries Saudi light crude to the Sitra refinery by 120,000 bbl to 350,000 bbl to feed the expansion, he said. The two companies are expected to sign the contract for the pipeline work by the end of this year, and complete that project in 2017, he said.
Bahrain, the smallest and oldest Arab crude producer in the Gulf, generates most of its income from selling refined products abroad. The Kingdom, which began pumping crude in the early 1930s, also depends on Saudi Arabia for supplies of 150,000 bbl of Arab-medium grade crude from a shared field called Abu Saafa. It sells this crude directly to the international market.
The island nation was planning to spend as much as $350 million to increase the capacity of the pipeline link to 450,000 bpd and invest between $6 to $8 billion to support the expansion of its Sitra refinery, Mohamed bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, CEO of Oil & Gas Holding Co., said in April.
The diminution in the projects scale may well reflect the companys failure to bring a partner on board to share the costs of the project, the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit said in a note.