Qays H. Zu’bi is Senior Partner at the Bahraini law firm Zu’bi & Partners. He began his legal career at Hatim S. Zu’bi Law Offices in 1981. Here, he identifies what Bahrain needs to do if it is to benefit more from its oil and gas wealth.
As with other countries, Bahrain’s economic climate has been impacted by international regional and internal factors. However, the country is positive that the economic climate will improve, as it has already started seeing confidence-building measures to drive the economy upwards.
PICK UP THE PACE: GCC funds have been committed to Bahrain’s development over the coming ten years. Some GCC countries have honoured their financial commitments.
The aim from the funds is to target housing projects, industrial projects and upgrades in the oil and gas industry and downstream sector, in addition to upgrades in the pipeline from Saudi Arabia through which 350,000 barrels of oil per day are imported into Bahrain. It is hoped that the decision-making process will be streamlined in order to become more efficient and enable the industry to progress. This will also give a boost to the economy, including generating further employment.
TEAM UP: In the oil industry, Bahrain has historically partnered with US companies because they have the edge in some technologies, particularly for enhanced oil recovery. Other companies from Canada and Europe with enhanced oil recovery experience have also participated, either in their own capacity or as subcontractors with US companies. With added financing projects that have been mothballed and still others on the drawing board, this should start moving again.
When Bahrain begins awarding contracts and pumping money into the energy industry, it will transform the economy. Commitment, openness and efficient decision-making at the ministerial level should comfort investors and drive investment. Initiating proper studies and due diligence exercises that cover the requirements of the oil and gas industry in Bahrain are important factors in developing the industry and putting it on the right course. We have to take a long-term view and manage our expectations realistically and properly.