80 billion barrels of tight oil (light sweet) discovered in Bahrain

Bahrain holds press conference

“Only a fraction of the 80-plus billion barrels is likely to be recoverable.” – Wood Mackenzie

Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA), alongside international consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton, Halliburton, and Schlumberger, provided new details on the Kingdom’s largest ever discovery of oil and gas, with tight oil amounting to at least 80 billion barrels, according to a NOGA press release.

The discovery, made within the 2,000 km2 Khalij Al-Bahrain Basin, is located in shallow waters off the Kingdom’s west coast, close to a fully-operational oil field with ready-to-connect-to facilities, according to Halliburton, who added that this unique factor provides potential for significant cost optimisation.

A separate discovery of significant gas reserves in two accumulations below Bahrain’s main gas reservoir has been confirmed.

“DeGolyer and MacNaughton’s and Haliburton’s independent appraisals have confirmed NOGA’s find of highly significant quantities of oil in-place for the Khalij Al Bahrain, with tight oil amounting to at least 80 billion barrels, and deep gas reserves in the region of 10-20 trillion cubic feet,” said Bahrain’s Minister of Oil Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.

“Agreement has been reached with Halliburton to commence drilling on two further appraisal wells in 2018, to further evaluate reservoir potential, optimise completions, and initiate long-term production.”

Extensive work has already been carried out to evaluate in-place volumes.  The first well in the drilling program is planned to produce in August, and over the next two years focus will be given to maximising production and commercial efficiency.

“Only a fraction of the 80-plus billion barrels is likely to be recoverable,” Tom Quinn, a senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. told Bloomberg News.

“The oil will also be technically challenging and potentially high cost to develop.”

Positive test well results have successfully demonstrated the productivity of the significant resource, with Schlumberger, who performed the first test well drilling, adding that Bapco has already succeeded in flowing high quality oil from the wells during the testing and flow back phases.

“Based on the core analysis carried out on several wells the formation could be classified at the edge of the conventional-unconventional type of plays,” a Schlumberger spokesperson noted.

“Oil in place of 80 billion barrels is based on a P50 resource estimate,” said DeGolyer and MacNaughton Senior Vice president, Dr John Hornbrook, speaking at the press conference. Dr Hornbrook added that “the discovery breaks new ground for the Bahrain oil and gas industry using established technologies.”

The newly-discovered resource, which officials expect to be ‘on production’ within five years, is expected to provide significant and long-term positive benefits to the Kingdom’s economy – both directly and indirectly through downstream activities in related industries.

“The presence of a layer with moderate conventional reservoir properties on top of an organic-rich source rock creates a unique self-sourcing and trapping system, enhancing production and economic viability. The confirmation of this significant resource highlights the vast E&P (exploration and production) potential and opportunities in Bahrain,”  said Yahya Alansari, Bapco chief exploration geologist in charge of the discovery.

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