H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Oil, opened today, Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, at the Ritz Carlton Bahrain, the 2nd Edition Middle East Refining Technology Conference (MERTC), which will be held for two consecutive days, organized by the World Refining Association in collaboration with the National Oil and Gas Authority, and with the support from Gulf Downstream Association (GDA) and a number of oil companies. The conference witnessed the participation of business executives of a large number of national, regional and global oil companies and their deputies. As well as petroleum consultancy companies', technological industries, experts, specialists and managers of companies operating in the field of oil refineries, of more than 450 participants from all around the world.
H.E. the Minister of Oil expressed his great appreciation in having the world refining association selecting the Kingdom of Bahrain to introduce the series of MERTC for the second time on the land of the Kingdom; because of the good reputation enjoyed by the Kingdom of Bahrain on the world level in the conference and events industry specialized in this vital area, and achieved by the first conference of the impressive results, which the Kingdom hosted earlier in year 2017. Appreciating H.E., the tireless efforts and support from the government on providing the highest levels of support for such events. H.E. also praised the great efforts made by the World Refining Association and to the advisory committee for this specialized conference.
H.E. the Minister of Oil, said that the purpose of the conference this year was to meet the desires of the participants from different countries of the world. The number of participants were more than 450 participants, where 80% of the participants were engineers and professionals, who met to address the issues and to review the technical solutions, in order to exchange practical experiences and best practices to improve the performance of the petroleum industries and discuss the current reality of the refining industry. They also reviewed some of the practical experiences and examples of successful development projects in different regions of the world, where they took advantage of the events accompanying, that can contribute in improving the future of the refining industry in the region and the world. H.E. wished all the participants a good stay in Bahrain, hoping that they took advantage from the conference and exhibition.
H.E. the Minister of Oil has confirmed the need for more investments and advanced technology and engineering solutions to the various challenges in the refining industry, as a result of population growth and increase demand on energy, which it requires further effort in order to strengthen the cooperation between the refining industry and technology. This represents a challenge facing technology companies today to devise creative solutions that help companies operating in the oil refinery to improve financial returns and enhance operational efficiency. Indicating the need to achieve balance, since there is an absence of balance faced by the countries of the world steadily in the instability of the current oil prices, which negatively affected the oil producing countries, employees and investors in the field of oil refineries. As well as the need to take full advantage of technological solutions available to rationalize operational expenditures in this sector is vital. Confirming H.E., the need to find ways to improve the operational efficiency and quality of products, as well as innovative technologies and solutions to the increasing use of heavy raw materials, where this is the creative solutions, technical innovations and the main key to achieve the best results in the refining sector in the Middle East and the world.
H.E. the Minister of Oil stated that the National Oil and Gas Authority is working on the implementation of a number of vital projects that support the development of the oil and gas sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain, given that oil will remain the most important commodity in the world. Stating that the Gulf region will remain the owner of the strategic location of the most prominent in the world, possessing the largest substitute of oil production rates, referring to Bahrain's refinery project, which is one of the strategic projects in the Kingdom of Bahrain to raise the level of unliquidated obligations in the area of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which was established in 1936. This project aims in enhancing competitiveness and profitability in order to increase the production of the refinery.
H.E. the Minister of Oil, added that more than 50% of the construction and modernization of the project for the replacement and upgrading of the oil pipeline between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia has been accomplished. H.E. also stated that the pipeline is being buried in the south of Bahrain, and the project is moving steadily according to the plan and budget. In order to double the current capacity of the absorptive capacity of the pipeline, which has been going on for more than 70 years.
H.E. the Minister of Oil added that the oil sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain is currently working to a clear strategy for involving the private sector in the implementation and management of the oil projects, citing the port project of liquefied natural gas, which is being developed in partnership with the private sector, that will be implemented according to the system of construction and property transfer. Expressing at the same time his hope that the third gas plant, owned by Bahrain National Gas Company (expansion), will start operating by the last quarter of the year 2018.
H.E. the Minister of Oil, thanked the organizing committee of the conference and the advisory body for their excellence efforts and arrangements for this exhibition, which reflects Bahrain's reputation. H.E. also thanked the speakers, participants and everyone for coming and wishing them every success.
Then H.E. the Minister of Oil opened the exhibition, which included a number of national and international oil companies, where H.E. met with the representatives of the companies and reviewed their products; the participated companies were Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), Sabic, Kuwait National Petroleum Company, Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company, Manufacturing Company of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), and many international companies and consultancy in the field of oil refining industry.