A Noga spokesman says the data room for companies to inspect the licence round prospects will be open until January, with bids due by the second quarter of 2009.

Bahrain’s Oil & Gas Affairs Minister Abdul Hussain Mirza has previously told MEED that companies are expected to drill down to 20,000 feet, deeper than previous efforts.

Noga estimates that Bahrain’s natural gas reserves will fall to about 75 billion cubic metres by 2011, from 84 billion cubic metres currently, making further investment essential.

In November 2007, it signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to import up to 1 billion cf/d of gas by 2012.

Earlier in 2008, Noga shortlisted ExxonMobil Corporation and Occidental Petroleum, both of the US, along with Denmark’s Maersk Oil for a contract to more than double production from the country’s Awali oil field (MEED 19:9:08).