Petronas announced plans to drill its first oil well in Bahrain in October. “Geological and geophysical works commenced in January, and we plan to drill our first well in October this year,” said Petronas President and Chief Executive Hassan Marican. "As the operator with a 100 percent equity in both blocks, we are aware of the challenges ahead," said Marican, referring to blocks 4 and 6 in southeastern offshore areas, his company's first oil and gas production sharing deal with the Gulf state. Bahrain last year picked Petronas and Texaco Inc, before it merged with Chevron to form ChevronTexaco, to drill for oil and gas near the waters of Qatar after a border dispute between the two Gulf Arab states was resolved. "Bahrain marks our maiden entry into an Arab Gulf state -- a region which has been identified as one of our focus areas in our global strategy," Marican said. Marican was speaking at the inauguration of a Petronas office by visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. "The signing of the exploration and production sharing agreement...has undoubtedly paved the way for greater Malaysian investment in this island kingdom," Mahathir said. The Bahraini Oil Minister Sheikh Isa bin Ali al-Khalifa said at the ceremony that the two blocks assigned to Petronas cover an area of 1,110 square km (430 sq miles) of shallow waters.