The US’ Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) has been awarded a gas exploration deal by Bahrain.

Speaking at the International Energy Forum in Kuwait, Bahrain’s oil minister said Oxy had already started exploration activities at depths of 15,000 and 20,000 feet.

The deal is a standard seven-year licence and will involve Oxy drilling at least three wells in the first four years.

If commercial supplies of gas are found within the seven-year period, then a production sharing agreement will be signed between the two parties.

Due to its ambitious industrial diversification plans the kingdom has been planning to increase its gas exploration activities for some time.