Iran, Bahrain to Boost Gas Cooperation

A001387310.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- A new pipeline will be built to import natural gas from Iran to Bahrain – doubling the country’s gas supplies as it strives to keep pace with development.

The project will go ahead once negotiations between the two countries are complete, Oil and Gas Affairs Minister and National Oil and Gas Authority (Noga) chairman Dr Abdulhussain Mirza told the GDN yesterday.

He said an understanding had been reached that would result in one billion cubic feet of natural gas being piped from Iran to Bahrain.

Bahrain currently produces 1.2bn cubic feet of gas and a final deal with Iran is expected to be signed next year, the minister said.

“If the final talks, scheduled for next year, are successful we shall discuss the construction of a pipeline to carry gas from the Pars Field – a joint field between Iran and Qatar – to Bahrain,” he revealed.

However, it could be five years before Iran begins pumping gas to Bahrain across the Persian Gulf.

“The (pipeline) project may take more than four years to complete and Iran has agreed in principle to sell 1bn cubic feet of gas per day to Bahrain,” said Mirza.

“Bahrain’s current production is 1.2bn cubic feet and we will require an extra 1bn for our development projects.”

Other initiatives to increase Bahrain’s gas production include allowing oil companies to dig deeper underground.

“We shall launch a deep gas initiative on October 27,” Mirza said.

“International oil companies which now dig only 15,000 to 16,000 feet below the ground will be authorized to dig up to 20,000 feet.

“Plans are also underway to import liquefied natural gas by ships from other countries, after building the necessary receiving facility in Bahrain.

“The idea is to secure enough gas supply for our future needs.”

Mirza signed a framework agreement on importing gas with his Iranian counterpart Gholam Hossein Nozari at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa yesterday.

He said the agreement followed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Iran and Bahrain during the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last November.

“Since then, five rounds of negotiations have taken place alternatively in Bahrain and Iran,” he added.

“Talks are now progressing according to the schedule.”

The Iranian minister also met with King Hamad and Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa yesterday.

“This shows that our agreement on importing gas from Iran is getting momentum,” Mirza added.

“We are happy that the political leadership in Iran is keen to supply gas to Bahrain.”

Mirza said he hoped Bahrain’s negotiations with Iran would pave the way for similar cooperation across the region.

“Through our joint efforts, we look forward to setting an example of cooperation and agreement for other countries to follow suit – cooperation established on mutual respect and interests,” he added.

“Nothing is required in our region as much as stability and progress.

“Stability can be achieved only through an integrated and strong system, which is based on cooperation, exchange of interests and the establishment of joint projects for the benefit of the people of the region,” he concluded.

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