Bahrain is considering to transfer some of its oil and gas assets into a proposed state-run fund to sell shares to investors, according to Bloomberg.
Bahraini Oil Minister, Mohammed bin Khalifa, said that the fund and sale of the stake would allow “a channel for private investors to come in, which they have not really done in the oil and gas sector in Bahrain.”
Khalifa stated that the ministry is currently monitoring the development of test wells for oil production at Khaleej Al Bahrain for shale oil and gas. In addition to this, the ministry plans to organize a roadshow later this year to invite international oil companies (IOCs) to sign production deals at three new offshore gas blocks.
In order to boost the state coffers, and as a result of the 2014 crude oil prices slump, oil-rich states became more open to foreign investments, Bahrain included. Bahrain is following in Saudi Arabia’s footsteps, which raised approximately $30 billion from Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO). In doing so, Bahrain hopes to balance its budget by 2020 and further decrease its deficit, which reached 4.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, according to Bahrain’s Ministry of Finance.