Talk on Bapco Refinery and Oil

2019-09-17 - 7:01 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It is not just about Saudi Arabia when half of Aramco's production stops. A portion of the consequences of this can be understood from the US president's statement that he has authorized the use of strategic oil reserves.

If these attacks have affected the US, a top oil producing country, then what were the effects on Bahrain since early Saturday, as drones have managed to disrupt half of the production capacity of the Saudi energy giant?

One insider told Bahrain Mirror that "losses in the oil and gas sectors may be greater than we can imagine."

Saudi Arabia has shut down a pipeline transporting crude oil from Saudi Aramco to the Bahrain refinery. More than 220,000 barrels per day were pouring into the refinery, which has been shut down since Saturday.

The line between the two shores of east Saudi Arabia and west Bahrain, known as AB Line, has been halted, which means that Bahrain lost 88% of the oil it refines there.

Cutting off oil supply to the Bahrain refinery costs the public budget about 15% of the government's public revenues, i.e. the net sales of the refinery. According to the budget approved last year, Bapco is likely to lose more than 30 million dinars a day at least.

A source close to the production operations said that "Bapco has already stopped work in small units and reduced the operating capacity of other units according to operating and safety procedures".

The source ruled out that Bahrain will succeed in its endeavors to provide ships to bring about two million barrels of Saudi crude, explaining that "Saudi Arabia now gives priority to fulfill its obligations with major importers such as China".

"Saudi Arabia is unlikely to use its stockpile to supply Arab crude to the Bahrain refinery," it said.

"The explosions have disrupted a supply of crude oil estimated at 5.7 million barrels," the Saudi energy minister said. "The company will compensate part of the decline for its customers through stocks."

Regarding the option of importing oil from other countries, he said: "Talking about replacing oil supplies to the Bahrain refinery by replacing Saudi oil shows that stopping supplies may take some time."

"There are technical difficulties, however, because the refinery is designed to supply pipelines that extend by sea to the refinery's crude tanks," he said, adding that "it seems difficult to replace them with ships through the Bapco port. The port is actually designed to export the refinery's products, not supply the refinery with crude, and the reversal process requires a lot of effort".

"Besides the supply complexities, there are other complications related to the operation," he said, explaining that "Bapco's refinery is designed for a specific type of crude, and importing different quality of crude will cause many technical problems in the refinery units."

"There will be difficulty on the operating level or in obtaining the same quality of petroleum products that the refinery produces from Saudi crude," he said.

Losses do not stop there. The refinery produces more than 40 products through refining operations. The halt of the supply will stop all related production. The source did not rule out that the interruption of production will affect the petrochemical industries and Alba, which depend on gas to run smelters or even the electricity and water sector.

He said officials were trying to pinpoint the problems they had to face as a result of supplies being interrupted. It is not just related to technical matters, as it is also related to one of the main sources of revenue for the state budget, and is connected to key sectors such as energy and fuel.

Each day that passes as Saudi Arabia delays in bringing production back to normal means the pipeline remains cut. The financial situation of the Bahraini economy is in real danger. This crisis is too much for the debt-ridden country to handle. It's a country dependent on creditors, whose neck has become tied to all the crises of the region.


Arabic Version