The Oil & Industry Ministry is preparing to open three more offshore blocks for exploration near the Hawar islands. Director of oil & gas Tariq bin Mohammed al-Khalifa told MEED on 1 September that the acreage would be made available for exploration in the first quarter of 2003.
Malaysia's Petronas Bahrainand the US' ChevronTexaco Corporationare the first international oil companies (IOCs) to explore for hydrocarbons around Hawar. The IOCs signed production sharing agreements in November for blocks 4, 5 and 6, which are the first concessions to be opened since rights to the islands were ceded to Bahrain by Qatar last year. The area is thought to be rich in both oil and gas reserves (MEED 30:8:02).