Bahrain's refinery upgrade plans could cost US$6bn

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Plans to boost the refining capacity of Bahrain by almost 50 per cent are projected to cost up to US$6 billion, the country's top oil official was quoted as saying this week.

"If the second phase of the refinery's upgrade is completed, the number of high-value oil derivatives would rise, which means more profitability and requires big investments of US$5 billion to US$6bn," Abdul-Hussain bin Ali Mirza said in an interview with Kuwait's state news agency (KUNA).

Through this plan, non-OPEC producer Bahrain is looking to boost its refining capacity to 400,000-500,000 barrels per day (bpd), from the current 267,000 bpd.

This would be in line with a projection of increased crude flow as Bahrain aims to boost oil output to 100,000 bpd from the current 30,000 bpd. Mirza did not give a timeframe for the upgrade but had said before that these were long-term plans.

Bahrain is also working with Saudi Arabia on a plan to replace and expand the old pipelines connecting the two countries by the end of 2014. The project is now in the final design phase and costs US$350mn, said Mirza, who chairs Bahrain's National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA).

The current capacity of the pipeline is 230,000 bpd. Fuel demand in the Gulf region has been rising rapidly over the past years, prompting oil producers in the region to boost their capacity.

Saudi Arabia and Oman are among those with plans to increase refining capacity.

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