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New natural gas policy launched in Bahrain

Source: bahrain tribune 6/19/2005, Location: Middle East

The policy, which was announced at a meeting of the gas committee presided over by the Crown Prince and Gas Committee Chairman, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, was drafted following thorough studies of international accords that regulate relations between natural gas consumers and suppliers.

The committee hopes that the new policy will stimulate investments and motivate investors in the Kingdom by defining and regulating the roles of all parties in the gas sector and by ensuring clear guidelines that will boost their confidence in commercial and industrial activities.

The technical, legal, regulatory, commercial and administrative aspects of the policy as well as the practical steps were reviewed at the meeting.

Bahrain has natural gas reserves of about 3.25 trillion cubic feet (tcf), much of it associated gas from the Awali oil field. It produced 327 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas in 2002, all of which was consumed locally. The largest domestic consumer was Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), which uses it in its power plant.

In January 2002, Qatar and Bahrain signed a Memorandum of Agreement indicating Bahrainís intentions to purchase natural gas from Qatarís North Field Enhanced Gas Utilisation Project. The accord was part of a proposed Qatar-Kuwait pipeline project that failed to progress because of differences between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The blocked $2 billion pipeline was supposed to head north from Qatar to Bahrain and then through Saudi waters to Kuwait.

Last month, Qatarís Energy and Industry Minister, Abdullah bin Hamad Al Atiya, said that his country would supply Bahrain with natural gas. The decision was then welcomed by Bahrainís leadership as instrumental to the growth of gas-based industries.

Shaikh Salman yesterday reiterated the decision and described it as a testimony to the close ties between the two leaders and countries.

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