Expansion of Bahrain’s only oil refinery nears 40% completion, says oil minister

Construction work on the multi-billion dollar expansion project at Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco)’s Sitra oil refinery has reached 40 percent completion and is set to be commissioned by 2022, Bahrain’s Minister of Oil told Arabian Business’ sister website ConstructionWeekOnline in an exclusive interview.

HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, said the expansion is being handled by a consortium led by Italy’s TechnipFMC, South Korea’s Samsung Engineering, and Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas, which he described as “three major construction companies”.

Touted as the biggest industrial project in the 90-year history of Bapco, the expansion will increase the refinery’s capacity to 380,000 barrels per day (bpd).

“We’re expanding our one and only refinery, Bapco, which has been operating since 1936. This expansion is well underway, and we have reached 40 percent completion on the project already,” HE Sheikh Al Khalifa said.

The minister also revealed that the firm is working with state-of-the-art process technologies, which would allow products to be produced to market specifications.

He explains: “As of January 2020, International Maritime Organisation has implemented a law saying that all bunker fuel has to be below 0.5 percent sulphur, therefore high sulphur fuel oil is not allowed in the shipping industry.”

“People are observing how compliant shipping companies are, but so far we have seen it in the margins. The price of high sulphur fuel oil has collapsed repeatedly. If you’re not ready with producing products that are on spec, refineries will go out of business.

“This is one of the first milestones in making sure that the BAPCO refinery meets customer demands, and hopefully by 2022, we will see the commissioning of the refinery and the world wide export of its high quality products.”