When Bahrain announced the discovery of an 80bn-barrel oilfield in the spring — its biggest find since the 1930s — it was greeted with only cautious optimism by industry analysts. Bahrain’s current oil production of just 43,000 barrels a day has marked it out as a relative energy minnow among the crude-rich Gulf states, with consultancy Wood Mackenzie warning the new oilfield could prove “technically challenging and potentially high-cost to develop”. But Bahrain’s oil minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Khalifa, is brighter about the prospects of the Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin, believing early signs point to a field with the potential to transform the state’s fortunes. He is now on a push to attract international partners to help develop the resource, which has been described as a hybrid between a conventional field and the type of oil-holding tight shale rock that has elevated the US to an energy powerhouse. […]