MANAMA (Reuters) – U.S. firm Occidental and Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production PCL have won a tender to explore for oil and gas in Bahraini waters, Bahrain’s oil minister said on Sunday.
The kingdom’s tender board approved the bids, which will now be passed to parliament and its upper chamber, the Shura council, for approval, Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs Abdul-Hussain bin Ali Mirza told Reuters.
The process should be completed by the end of the year, Mirza said. Occidental won the exploration rights for two offshore blocks, and PTTEP for one, Mirza said.
Only three firms submitted bids for the right to explore up to four offshore blocks, after at least 18 had expressed interest.
Russia’s state-owned Zarubezhneft was the third company to make a bid, but was unsuccessful. The fourth block was not awarded, a national oil and gas affairs official said.
Bahrain has declined to comment on how much oil it hopes to extract from the blocks.
The kingdom has previously explored for oil in its waters but found very little. It hopes new advances in technology may yield better results.
Bahrain has also invited bids to revamp its onshore Awali oilfield, due by October 17. It hopes output could be doubled from the field, which produced about 35,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2006.
Bahrain receives another 150,000 bpd of crude from Saudi Arabia, its share of output from the Abu Saafa oilfield.