Bahrain's largest oil find estimated at 80 billion barrels

FILE- In this Nov. 7, 2016, file photo, Bahraini Oil Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa speaks at the annual Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The small island-nation of Bahrain on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, announced the discovery of 80 billion barrels of shale oil, its largest oil and gas find ever. Bahrain's oil minister and energy executives detailed the find at a press conference. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The small island-nation of Bahrain on Wednesday announced the discovery of 80 billion barrels of shale oil, its largest oil and gas find ever.

Bahrain's oil minister and energy executives detailed the find at a press conference, saying the tight oil was discovered in the offshore Khalij al-Bahrain Basin, which spans some 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) in shallow waters off the country's western coast.

The field also contains an estimated 14 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Oil Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said the amount of oil that can be extracted from the Khalij al-Bahrain Basin is still being studied.

Still, the discovery dwarfs the onshore Bahrain oil field, which produces around 45,000 barrels per day. The non-OPEC country also produces close to 160,000 barrels of oil per day from an offshore field it shares with Saudi Arabia.

The minister announced a separate discovery of gas reserves below Bahrain's main gas reservoir, with estimates that push deep gas reserves in the region to between 10 and 20 trillion cubic feet.

Experts and officials said they expect the newly discovered oil field to be 'on production' within five years.

Bahrain started pumping oil in 1932, becoming the first among its Arab Gulf neighbors to produce oil.

The Arab state, ruled by a Sunni-led monarchy, is located in the Persian Gulf just east of Saudi Arabia's oil-rich coastal areas and desert. It hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Bahrain is not a major oil producer, but the new finds have the potential to significantly raise the country's profile and boost its economy, which has suffered double blows in recent years from lower oil prices and years of unrest and protests by some of the country's majority Shiites.

The country has introduced some austerity measures to limit spending and boost revenue, including reducing some fuel subsidies and increasing taxes. Like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, it introduced a 5 percent value-added tax this year to most goods and services.

Must Read

Group estimates 34,000 gallons of oil spilled off...

Aug 16, 2017

Satellite imagery analysis by US-based group suggests at least 34,000 gallons leaked during oil...

The Latest: Tusk says new thinking required in...

Oct 16, 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk says new thinking is required to end the Brexit standoff and...

Malian extremist pleads guilty to Timbuktu rampage

Aug 22, 2016

An Islamic extremist has pleaded guilty to destroying historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city...

Populist Geert Wilders praises Donald Trump's...

Jan 31, 2017

Firebrand anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders has clashed in Parliament with the Dutch foreign...

With economy up, crime down, why are the Dutch...

Mar 6, 2017

The economy is up, unemployment is down and some Dutch prisons are so empty the government has been...