State-owned Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) has narrowed expansion options for its 267,000 b/d Sitra refinery to two, MEES understands. A more modest scenario envisages an expansion in distillation capacity to 330,000 b/d, at a cost of $5-6bn. While a more ambitious expansion plan is looking at eventual Sitra capacity of 450,000 b/d, and comes with a $8-9bn price tag.

Financing is a prime constraint and Bapco is considering joint ventures and is hoping to make a decision by the end of the year. The higher end scenario makes sense given anticipated rises in crude supply. Bahrain is planning to boost domestic crude production, eyeing a rise from current levels of 46,000 b/d to around 100,000 b/d by the end of the decade and a new crude pipeline from Saudi Arabia is being built to handle imports of 350,000 b/d, versus current capacity of 230,000 b/d (MEES, 11 June). If approved, the Sitra expansion will form part of a projected 1.8mn b/d regional 2012-16 downstream capacity drive (MEES, 16 November). (CONTINUED - 278 WORDS)