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Viewing cable 08MANAMA306, OIL MINISTER ON NUCLEAR ENERGY AND NATURAL GAS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANAMA306 2008-05-15 14:02 2011-02-18 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manama
VZCZCXRO5248
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0306 1361420
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151420Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7853
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT  PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000306 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2018 
TAGS: ENRG EPET PREL IR BA
SUBJECT: OIL MINISTER ON NUCLEAR ENERGY AND NATURAL GAS 
 
REF: A. MANAMA 298 
     B. MANAMA 237 
     C. MANAMA 156 
     D.07 MANAMA 1070 E. 07 MANAMA 1045 F. 07 MANAMA 982 Classified By: CDA Christopher Henzel for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1.(C) Summary. Bahrain is in the early stages of mapping out a nuclear energy strategy for the longer term, according to a key minister. Bahrain's energy problem is more immediate, and while the GOB claims Iran will be its natural gas supplier of last resort, talks with Iran continue. The oil minister reiterated GOB appeals for the USG to nudge Riyadh to be more sympathetic to Bahraini approaches over the Abu Safa field. End Summary.

2.(C) Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs Dr. Abdul Hussein Ali Mirza told CDA May 7 that the Bahraini government is selecting the membership of an inter-ministerial committee that will convene this summer to deliberate over the GOB's nuclear energy policy. Building or buying a reactor for Bahrain was one of the "long term" options the committee will research for the country's leadership. Mirza will be on the committee. He is also chairman of the GOB's tender board, which would play an important role in any decision to purchase civil nuclear capabilities.

3.(C) Mirza said that while Bahraini officials wished to explore the feasibility of developing nuclear energy, there had so far been "no decision on the part of the Government to build a nuclear reactor in Bahrain." As Bahrain's oil reserves dwindled, he said, Bahrain faced an urgent need for new sources of cheap energy, and was seeking them from regional natural gas suppliers (refs B, C and D.) By contrast, he said, nuclear power was an option for ten to fifteen years out, and might be developed in concert with GCC neighbors or unilaterally. -------------------------------- GAS PROSPECTS YET TO MATERIALIZE --------------------------------

4.(C) Mirza said Bahrain continues its efforts to obtain cheap natural gas from Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Iran. Iran remained the most forthcoming of the three, but even those negotiations were progressing slowly. There was still no agreement on whether gas would be transported by tanker or pipeline, how new infrastructure would be financed, or even which Iranian field it might be drawn from. Nevertheless, he said that during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's November 17, 2007 visit to Bahrain, Ahmedinejad had asserted to senior GOB officials that Iran was eager to provide natural gas (ref E). Mirza added that Iranian Energy Minister Parviz Fattah told him at the April 20-22 International Energy Forum in Rome that Iran hoped to conclude an agreement with Bahrain by the end of 2008.

5.(C) CDA reminded Mirza that the U.S. objected strongly to any such deal. Mirza reiterated that Iranian gas was Bahrain's least favored option (ref D), but argued that stability in Bahrain "can only be assured if we have energy." CDA pointed out that relying on Iran for natural gas would put Bahrain in much the position Ukraine is to Russia and was hardly a reliable foundation for development or stability. Mirza acknowledged that this was a serious concern and was a drawback to the Iranian option. He lamented the lack of progress in gas talks with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and reiterated other Bahraini leaders, appeals (ref C) for the USG to ask the Saudis to respond positively to Bahraini requests for more transparency on the joint Bahraini-Saudi Abu Safa field. ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** HENZEL

0 05/15/2008 3797 ENRG,EPET,PREL,IR,BA OIL MINISTER ON NUCLEAR ENERGY AND NATURAL GAS Bahrain is in the early stages of mapping out a nuclear energy strategy for the longer term, according to a key minister. Bahrain's energy problem is more immediate, and while the GOB claims Iran will be its natural gas supplier of last resort, talks with Iran continue. The oil minister reiterated GOB appeals for the USG to nudge Riyadh to be more sympathetic to Bahraini approaches over the Abu Safa field. End Summary.
2.(C) Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs Dr. Abdul Hussein Ali Mirza told CDA May 7 that the Bahraini government is selecting the membership of an inter-ministerial committee that will convene this summer to deliberate over the GOB's nuclear energy policy. Building or buying a reactor for Bahrain was one of the "long term" options the committee will