Interview: Pete Bartlett
What is the status of the Bapco Modernisation Programme (BMP), and how prepared are suppliers, contractors and employees for this project?
PETE BARTLETT: The BMP is progressing through the engineering, design and procurement stages, managed by the consortium of TechnipFMC, Técnicas Reunidas and Samsung Engineering in their respective offices in Rome, Madrid and Seoul. The project is a mixture of greenfield and brownfield work. Site preparation is complete, and the greenfield site has been handed over to the consortium to start construction.
Preparation began with the rebranding of Bapco in 2015. An accredited oil and gas academy has been established to train and develop the future workforce the expansion will require. These steps were taken to reinvent Bapco ahead of the BMP investment. The emphasis has now shifted towards project execution. Each operating centre has been preparing by recruiting new staff, developing engineering deliverables and procuring long lead items.
What infrastructure work has been done, and what more is needed in order to support the expansion needed for the BMP?
BARTLETT: The new Arabia-Bahrain (AB) oil pipeline, was recently commissioned, increasing Bahrain’s capacity to import oil from Saudi Arabia and improving safety and efficiency. Preparation of the BMP sites inside the refinery and the greenfield site to its south have now been completed. Groundbreaking began in late 2018 with the start of piling in the greenfield area. The kingdom’s Electricity and Water Authority is also in the process of building substation infrastructure to support power for the BMP.
How does the new oil discovery affect long-term plans for refining capacity?
BARTLETT: The Khaleej Al Bahrain basin has been described as a hybrid between a conventional field and hydrocarbons-bearing, tight-rock formations similar to the shale formations commercialised in the US. Although preliminary work on data derived from field samples shows promising yields and qualities, it is too soon for Bapco to speculate about the optimal disposition of the barrels from this discovery. Our sister company, Tatweer Petroleum, is leading the appraisal work to assess this opportunity further.
How has Bahrain shown itself to be an attractive location for energy investment?
BARTLETT: The Bahrain Energy Fund, the first in the GCC to provide institutional investors with access to energy assets, is a testament to the kingdom’s role as a leading regional player in the financial sector. Bahrain has gained a reputation as a reliable investment destination. In 2017 state-owned oil company nogaholding issued $1bn notes under the $3bn, 144A/Reg S, Global Medium-Term Note Programme, and gained its second $1bn dual-tranche offering in November 2018 with a total subscription of $2.5bn. Additionally, the liquefied natural gas (LNG) company Bahrain LNG won the Middle East ECA Finance Deal of the Year award at the 2017 Venice Global Borrowers’ Summit.
What is being done to coordinate contractors and employees in order to ensure projects are completed effectively and on time?
BARTLETT: Bapco follows a systems-completion approach, where readiness is defined as having the right people, processes, equipment and policies in place. A comprehensive readiness plan for the BMP has been developed, which tracks actions to their completion based on defined criteria and an agreed schedule. This ensures preparedness in all aspects of the base business. This includes recruitment and training plans for BMP-related staff, together with improved communication on all levels throughout the company as well as within BMP project interfaces.
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