Qatar to supply gas to Bahrain

Bahrain has hailed a decision by Qatar to supply Manama with natural gas, in a move apparently aimed at skirting Saudi-Qatari tensions which have blocked the construction of a Qatar-Kuwait pipeline.

    The natural gas is to come from Qatar's giant North Field

    Doha's decision will have a positive impact on industrial and economic development in Bahrain, Bahraini Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa told a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

    He also said it would to boost economic integration among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

    Al Khalifa, whose remarks were reported by the official Bahrain News Agency, did not give further details of the plan, announced earlier this week by Qatari Energy and Industry Minister Abd Allah bin Hamad al-Attiyah.
      
    Al-Attiyah said a joint Bahraini-Qatari committee is finalising the proposed project, which will be implemented as soon as possible.
      
    The industry newsletter Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) said in its Monday edition the gas would be supplied through a sub-sea pipeline linking Bahrain and Qatar.

    The deal comes after a dispute between Doha and Riyadh delayed construction of a pipeline through Saudi territory to supply Qatari gas to Kuwait.
      
    Diplomatic spat

    Bahrain and Qatar signed a protocol in 2001 for the supply of gas via a spur to the proposed Qatar-Kuwait pipeline, the Cyprus-based newsletter said.
      
    "But progress on this last project has been delayed by a diplomatic dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. As a result, the expectation is that a sub-sea pipeline linking Bahrain and Qatar will be built," it said.
      

    Al-Atiyyah says the project will
    be implemented soon

    MEES said that while al-Attiyah gave no details of the volume involved in the planned sale, talks on the issue over the past four years had focused on Bahrain importing up to 14 million cubic metres a day of natural gas from Qatar's giant North Field.
      
    The blocked $2 billion pipeline was supposed to head north from Qatar to Bahrain and then through Saudi waters to Kuwait. Deliveries were to start in early 2006.
      
    Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are all members of the GCC, which also includes Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
      
    Kuwait has repeatedly tried to ease longstanding Saudi-Qatari strains, which prompted Riyadh to recall its ambassador from Doha in September 2002 after the Qatar-based Aljazeera aired a debate in which participants strongly criticised the Saudi royal family.

    SOURCE: AFP


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