Tatweer Petroleum

Bahrain Oil Field

Bahrain Oil Field

Location and size
The Bahrain Field measures approximately 15 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide, and occupies almost 80 per cent of the main island. At its northern extremity are situated the town of Riffa and the Bapco refinery; while to the west is Rafah Race Course, Hamad Town, the University of Bahrain, the Bahrain international Circuit (BIC) and Al Areen Wildlife Park.

On the eastern perimeter sit Alba, the Hafeera area, and Al Dur power and water desalination plant. The BDF training area, Shaikh Isa Air Base, and Al Rumaythah are located at its southernmost point. In the middle stands Jabal Ad Dukhan, the highest point in Bahrain, adjacent to the site of Oil Well Number One.

The shallowest oil reservoirs of the Bahrain Field – Aruma (blue shale) and Mishrif (rubble) – are 1,250 feet below the surface, while the deepest oil reservoir – Dhruma (Fadhili) – lies at a depth of 6,500 feet. Gas reservoirs start at 2,000 feet (Wara), continue to 8,800 feet (Khuff) and then drop down to 13,000 feet (Tawil).

Brief history
In 1925, Major Frank Holmes obtained the first oil concession in Bahrain on behalf of the General Eastern Syndicate. An attempt to sell the concession to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company met with a high degree of skepticism, with chief geologist Dr George Lees declaring that he would drink any commercial oil found in Bahrain!

In 1927, Major Holmes transferred the syndicate’s interest to Gulf Oil Corporation, which sold its interest to Standard Oil of California the following year. The first drilling rig arrived in Bahrain in May 1931, and in October that year, Oil Well Number 1 was spudded. In June 1932, the drilling bit pierced a layer of blue shale at 1,250 feet and the crew smelled oil, heralding the start of a new economic era for Bahrain.

The Bapco refinery was officially commissioned in 1936, and began refining oil from the Bahrain Field. Following the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia, the Bapco refinery also started refining Saudi oil, which was initially transported by ship, prior to the construction of the Saudi Arabia-Bahrain oil pipeline in 1945.

The Future

In 2008, after nearly eight decades of production, the Bahrain Field was generally perceived as a declining and dying field, nearing the end of its productive life. However, the success of new enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques in similar oil fields prompted the National Oil and Gas Authority to initiate the Bahrain Field Development Project, which resulted in the establishment of Tatweer Petroleum in 2009.

Since the start of Tatweer Petroleum’s operations four years ago, production of black oil has increased 70 per cent, from 26,000 bpd in December 2009 to 44,000 bpd in December 2013.

The application of EOR recovery techniques, including waterflooding and steam injection, drilling of over 900 new wells, and introduction of completion methods new to the Bahrain field will double the oil production over the next five years.

In 2011, the company implemented the first steam injection pilot to extract heavy oil from the Rubble reservoir, together with a waterflood pilot in the Mauddud reservoir.

The company is also making plans to conduct chemical and Water Alternating Gas (WAG) tests and further studies and screening will be done on more exotic processes, such as miscible flooding with CO2 and enriched gas flooding.

Key Facts

  • 1932

    The year in which oil was discovered in Bahrain – the first in the GCC

  • 75 sq kms

    The size of the Bahrain Field