The Ministry of Oil & Gas has unveiled a total of four onshore hydrocarbon blocks for investment as part of the Oman Licensing Round 2017, registration and bidding for which formally commences on September 20, 2017. Up for grabs are Block 43B, Block 47, Block 51 and Block 65 — part of a portfolio of over 10 open blocks that will be tendered over the next few years, the ministry said in a backgrounder on the new Licensing Round.
The timing of the launch of the new bidding round, coming against a protracted low oil price environment, underscores confidence in the strength of investor interest in Oman’s upstream sector, say industry experts.
Block 43B: Conventional gas is the main play type in Block 43B, an 11,967 sq km licence located along the coastal area of the Sultanate north of the Hajar Mountains. Oil is also a possibility, given its burial not too deep as that of blocks to its south, according to the ministry.
Relinquished by Hungarian energy MOL Group, Block 43B was previously owned by a number of E&P players, including Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), Amoco and Hawasina LLC. Although there have been no discoveries within the Block, gas shows were encountered throughout the carbonate units in the Barka-1 well. Several prospects have also been mapped within the Seeb formation.
Block 47: Adjoining Bloc 43B on its southern boundary is Block 47, which was relinquished recently by Norwegian firm DNO. Tight gas is the predominant play in the 8,524 sq km concession located in the interior of Oman.
"To date, gas has been discovered in the Natih and Shuaiba formations while gas/condensate has been discovered in the Amin Formation. These discoveries have not been fully appraised. There are currently four gas and gas/condensate prospects mapped across the block," the ministry said.
Previous owners of the block have included PDO, Amoco, Indago Oman, Novus Oman and RAK Petroleumwho, along with DNO, have drilled a total of six wells in the concession. Adding to the block’s investment appeal is its proximity to modern roads, and excellent power and water infrastructure.
Block 51: Among the most promising of the four blocks on offer, Block 51 is a 10,132 sq km licence also located in the interior of the country. A total of 19 wells have so far been drilled by the block’s many owners over the past decades, revealing evidence of gas and condensate in the Natih formation and gas in the Gharif formation.
In addition to the conventional oil and gas play in the block, there is also a tight gas play in the Natih E formation, which has been recognised as a prime target across northern Oman, according to the ministry.
Block 65: Rounding off the open blocks on offer is Block 65, a small 1,230 sq km concession owned until recently by Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production (OOCEP).
According to the ministry, there are two plays within this block: the first is a conventional oil and gas within the Natih and Shuaiba formations. The second play is the Natih E unconventional oil play. Wells drilled in the concession include the Karam-1, which uncovered a significant find in Natih Formation (Natih A/B), while the Al Shreega-1 well encountered a thin oil column in the Natih A. Oil shows were observed in the UER, Natih and Shuaiba formations.
The deadline for submission of bids for all four blocks is December 31, 2017.