Bahrain (2012)

Source: REEEP Policy Database (contributed by SERN for REEEP)

This policy & regulatory overview is not updated anymore since 2015. We decided to keep it online due to high demand but would like to make you aware of the fact that it might be outdated.

Energy sources

Total installed electricity capacity (2009): 2.8 GW
Natural Gas: 100%

In 2009, Bahrain generated 11.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and consumed 10.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

Total Primary Energy Supply (2009): 9469 ktoe
Natural Gas: 83.5%
Oil: 16.5%

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Bahrain imports about 210,000 bbl/d of Arab Light crude oil from Saudi Arabia, which is refined by Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) mainly to export to India and other Asian markets, as Bahrain’s domestic production is much lower than the country’s refining capacity. While negotiations with Qatar and Iran to import gas directly via sub-sea pipelines have been mooted, such deals appear some way off.

Other initiatives include: Bahrain’s government-run National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the UK/Dutch Shell Group to look at further gas initiatives, including the possibility of importing supplies by pipeline or shipping it in as liquefied natural gas.
Bahrain is a net exporter of energy, having exported 8.09 Mtoe in 2007.

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Extend network

The electrification rate in Bahrain is nearly 100%, due to the rapid modernisation that occurred after the discovery of the country's oil reserves.

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Capacity concerns

Bahrain’s oil production remained relatively stable over the last decade, while domestic consumption surged, resulting in decreased exports, particularly since 2005. As Bahrain’s economy diversifies and energy consumption grows in petrochemical and aluminum production, exports likely will continue to decrease. As crude oil production has been declining, BAPCO announced that it will drill new wells at the Awali field in 2011.

Officials estimate that Bahrain’s natural gas reserves will fall to about 75 billion cubic metres by 2011, from 84 billion cubic metres. Natural gas demand in Bahrain has grown rapidly in recent years and is expected to continue to do so as a result of requirements for power plants and energy-intense domestic industry. To help meet rising demand, NOGA is leading an effort to increase the country’s natural gas supply. Over the last five years, annual production has grown by an average of 5%, however Bahrain will need to increase its natural gas production more significantly to keep up with the rising demand. In the interim, the government is seeking out supply agreements with neighboring countries.

Bahrain’s electricity generation grew by an average of 9% over the last five years, and Bahrain’s Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) expects this level of growth throughout this decade. Installed capacity is barely able to meet current consumption, with the country's economic development leading to demand increases. Like other Gulf states, Bahrain has made official appeals for voluntary conservation, but a widespread blackout in August 2004 underscored the need for additional capacity.

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Renewable energy

Investment in renewable energy has traditionally been low due to the large fossil fuel reserves. In April 2010, government announced that NOGA will build two hybrid renewable energy plants, and several more small solar and wind installations in the near future.

With an estimated annual energy demand growth rate of 10%, the required amount of natural gas will be doubled in less than a decade. The Minster of Works therefore recognises that solar and wind energies always are potential alternatives for the production of electricity and reducing pollution.

Solar energy
Despite having no currently-installed solar capacity, the University of Bahrain's engineering faculty have produced two mobile solar plants, one for desalination of water, and a 1.4 kW/100W hybrid solar/wind power generation system. Smaller fixed plants, as well as an experimental solar water heating system, have also been constructed. A solar water heating system installed at Aluminium Bahrain, is reducing CO2 emissions by 100kg/day.

The Kingdom of Bahrain falls within the solar belt. The economic potential measures of 5.2 kWh/m2 (reaching maximum values of 6–7.2 kWh/m2 during summer season). This could make the cost of solar energy in the medium term competitive with conventional sources of energy and other renewable power resources.

Wind energy
According to a study which statistically analysed the hourly measured wind speed data for years 2003–2005, the maximum power densities for 10 m, 30 m and 60 m heights were found to be 164.33 W/m2, 624.17 W/m2 and 1171.18 W/m2 in February, respectively while the minimum power densities were  65.33 W/m2, 244.33 W/m2 and 454.53 W/m2 in October, respectively. The average annual wind power density was found to be 114.54 W/m2 for 10 m height, 433.29 W/m2 for 30 m height and 816.70 W/m2 for 60 m height.

Though the survey study for Bahrain showed low to moderate wind speeds throughout the year, averaging at 5 m per second, it is possible to harness this energy for the production of electricity around the coastal areas with higher wind speeds. Another study also considers that the country has a moderate opportunity of wind energy with 5-7m/s.

Two 225kW turbines were installed at the Bahrain World Trade Centre in 2007, providing an estimated 11-15% of the building's electricity needs.

Geothermal, Biomass, Hydro energy
Presently, no efforts are being made to exploit the potential for geothermal, biomass and hydro-electric technology, partially due to the lack of research and partly due to the prevalence of fossil fuels in the country.

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Energy efficiency

Bahraini energy consumption per capita, at 11.65 toe, is higher than many developed countries, including Japan. In June 2009, the chairman of the Energy Conservation Committee (ECC) announced a comprehensive study into energy consumption by sector. Residential sector electricity consumption far outstrips others, indicating the need for improved home energy efficiency.

A simulation study to investigate the impact of the Bahraini codes on the energy and environmental performance of buildings, focusing on air-conditioned commercial buildings, concluded that envelope codes, at best, are likely to reduce the energy use of the commercial sector by 25% if the building envelope is well-insulated and efficient glazing is used. Bahraini net CO2 emissions could drop to around 7.1%. The simulation results show that the current energy codes alone are not sufficient to achieve a 40% reduction benchmark, and therefore, more effort should be spent on moving towards a more comprehensive approach.

In 2010, Bahrain produced an estimated 46,000 bbl/d of total oil liquids, including 35,000 bbl/d of crude oil, and consumed an estimated 45,000 bbl/d of oil. With regard to natural gas, the country produced and consumed 444 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas in 2009.

In 2009, total final consumption was 5,098 ktoe. By source, natural gas was the largest at 2,945 ktoe, followed by oil products at 1,277 ktoe and electricity at 875 ktoe. By sector, industry consumed the largest portion at 3,051 ktoe, followed by transport sector at 1,129 ktoe, residential sector at 549 ktoe, commercial and public services sectors at 300 ktoe and agriculture and forestry sectors at 4 ktoe.

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Electricity market
The Electricity and Water Authority (EWA,, under the Ministry of Electricity and Water, is the state-owned electricity market owner. The EWA provides electricity and water services to all sectors in the Kingdom of Bahrain with the highest reliability and quality and with optimum utilization of the available resources.

To help meet rising demand, Bahrain encouraged independent power projects (IPPs) and allowed the privatization of some state-owned power sector assets. Bahrain’s first IPP power station, the natural gas-fired Al Ezzel plant started commercial operations in 2006 and accounted for about a third of total generating capacity in 2009, according to the EWA.

Oil and gas market
The oil market in the country is owned by the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO,, a state-owned, vertically-integrated company. BAPCO is engaged in the oil industry including exploration and prospecting for oil, drilling, production, refining, distribution of petroleum products and natural gas, sales and exports of crude oil and refined products. BAPCO sells crude oil and refined products to the Middle East, India, the Far East, South East Asia and Africa; and 95% of refined products are exported.

The Bahrain National Gas Company (BANAGAS, was formed to process associated gas into marketable products and supply residual gas for local industrial use. It was established from the Associated Gas Project, inaugurated in 1979, 75% owned by the Government of Bahrain with the remaining 25% equally owned by the Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation and Caltex Bahrain, now Chevron Bahrain. BANAGAS is the sole, state-owned, natural gas provider under the authorisation of the NOGA. 

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A NOGA holding company administers the government’s stakes in various energy companies, including the government’s 100% stake in Bapco, 75% in Banagas, 60% stake in Bafco (the aviation fuel company) and its one-third share of Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company.

In July 2004, Bahrain awarded its first contract for an independent power project (IPP) to the Belgian firm Tractebel.

With the conversion of the Ministry of Electricity and Water into a quasi-governmental authority, Bahrain has shifted from a vertically-integrated to a single-buyer model, encouraging private participation in power generation.
Bahrain is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC outlined plans for a unified power grid in 2004 and the first phase of the project was completed in the first quarter of 2009, linking the grids of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait, with the remaining GCC members, United Arab Emirates and Oman joining later.  The aim of the project is to could secure power supply in emergencies, while reducing the cost of power generation in member countries.

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Energy framework

Currently, there are no dedicated policies for the promotion of sustainable energy in Bahrain, although the need to promote such energy sources is recognised by the Ministry of Electricity and Water.

A solar panel factory is being built in Bahrain and expected to be ready by the end of 2012. The investor is Nasser S Al Hajri Corporation; and the factory is being built in co-operation with a Dutch company. The factory will export solar panels to Europe for domestic and industrial use, and has a long-term plan to market these panels in Bahrain and the other GCC countries.

Bapco’s First Zero Emission House in Awali, part of a grand project to Green Bahrain, was officially opened in March 2010. It is the first Zero Emission House in the Middle East, and is an International laboratory for evaluating renewable energy for buildings. The house consists of 4 kW photovoltaic, 1.5 wind turbine and 1.2 kW fuel cell (water energy) – total of 6.7 kW.

The Electricity and Water Authority in Bahrain has set a target of 40% reduction of building electricity consumption and CO2 emissions to be achieved by using envelope thermal insulation codes.

The Bahraini government began planning energy efficiency codes for buildings in 1998. Bahrain’s codes, known as ‘Article 32’, consists of two codes: first, thermal insulation and second, window area and glazing type. The current Bahraini codes are applicable to all buildings. The only criterion is that the walls and roofs of new and retrofitted constructions with more than three storeys should be well insulated. As most residences in Bahrain have one or two floors, the codes are not applicable to the majority of residential buildings.

Bahrain ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2006.

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Energy debates

The Bahraini Minister for Housing in May 2010 announced a Green Buildings initiative for the country, stating that the need to reduce domestic energy consumption is a necessity for continued energy security. An updated building code is also in progress, in an effort to aid private sector development of housing, and to develop new, greener building practices.

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Energy studies

No major assessments have been conducted as to the state of energy in the country, although a report on the resource potential for wind power can be found at

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Role of government

The government plays a majority role in the energy sector, both in electricity generation and regulation. State-owned companies dominate the market, with the national electricity regulator, EWA, being chaired by the Minster of Electricity and Water. The Ministry of Electricity and Water is responsible for generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, and remains the sole transmitter and distributor in the country.

The National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA, is the government’s body for regulation, policy and control of the nation’s hydrocarbon assets.

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Government agencies

There are currently no agencies in the government dedicated to sustainable energy.

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Energy procedure

In January 2010, in an effort to improve energy security, Bahrain awarded an oil field contract to Occidental to more than double production from the Bahrain oil field. NOGA (the National Oil and Gas Authority) estimates that domestic demand for oil will increase by at least 3 per cent a year over the coming year, reaching 45,000 b/d by 2011. However, plans to implement nuclear power in the country have faced problems due to a lack of local experience and the high demand for nuclear expertise in the area.

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Energy regulator

The National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA, is the government’s body for regulation, policy and control of the nation’s hydrocarbon assets.

The Minister of Electricity and Water chairs the main energy company, the EWA

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Regulatory framework

No current legislation exists dedicated to sustainable energy.

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Regulatory barriers

Barriers to sustainable energy in Bahrain include: the lack of investment in RES has limited the knowledge base, hampering further uptake.

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Radhi, H. (2009) ‘Can envelope codes reduce electricity and CO2 emissions in different types of buildings in the hot climate of Bahrain?’, Energy, 34: 205-215.

Reiche, D. (2010) ‘Energy Policies of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries - possibilities and limitations of ecological modernization in rentier states’, Energy Policy, 38: 2395-2403.

Jowder, F. A. L. (2009) ‘Wind power analysis and site matching of wind turbine generators in Kingdom of Bahrain’, Applied Energy, 86: 538-545.

Alnaser, W. E. (2011) ‘The status of renewable energy in the GCC countries’, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15: 3074-3098.

EIA (2011) ‘Country Analysis Briefs: Bahrain’, Last updated Feb 2013, available at:

IEA (2012) Country Information. Available at

MEED: "Bahrain's nuclear plan faces hurdles", April 2010. [Accessed 30 July 2013]

Kingdom of Bahrain Electricity and Water Authority. [Accessed 30 July 2013]

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