By Conrad Prabhu -
MUSCAT — The Ministry of Oil and Gas yesterday invited international and local oilfield companies to participate in a bid round for the onshore Block 65 in northeast Oman.
The move underlines the Omani government’s continuing efforts to develop the Sultanate’s hydrocarbon resources, which currently contribute around 50 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Rising domestic energy demand is also fuelling the quest for new gas reserves.
According to officials, the bid round is expected to attract strong international interest, given the Block’s proximity to a number of producing oil and gas fields. Covering an area of 1,230 sq kilometres, Block 65 is a modest-sized concession and borders the concessions of Daleel’s Block 5 and Occidental Oman’s Block 27 to the north, Petroleum Development Oman’s Block 6 to the south, and Petronas’ Block 63 to the west.
Previous attempts to appraise the Block have unearthed useful insights into its hydrocarbon potential. “Petroleum elements are proven for multiple play concepts. The Block has also potential for unconventional plays, such as Light Tight Oil (LTO),” the ministry stated in a brief backgrounder on the concession.
High quality 3D seismic data is already available for around 60 per cent of the Block, along with multiple vintages of 2D lines in between, say officials. Also available is data pertaining to five wells that have so far been drilled in the concession.
Also underscoring its appeal is the fact that the Block is surrounded by a number of major oil and gas fields that produce from shallow Cretaceous formations, namely the Natih and Shuaiba formations with deeper opportunities in the Mafraq, Khuff, Gharif, Barik and Miqrat formations.
Giving further details about the petroleum elements within the concession, the ministry noted that the Block has a number of proven reservoirs which include the Albian Natih Formation and the Aptian Shuaiba Formation, both of which are producing in the adjoining Blocks 5, 6, 9, 27 and 61. There are also the Jurassic Mafraq Formation and Permian Gharif and Khuff formations, which are producing in Block 6 and 61 to the south. Also found nearby are the Barik and Miqrat formations, which have been proven in Block 61 to the south.
Interested oilfield companies have until July 1, 2012 to submit sealed offers to the Ministry of Oil and Gas in support of their bids. For its part, the ministry has pledged to provide a comprehensive data package for evaluation, including available 2D and 3D seismic data within the Block’s boundaries, data for all the wells in the Block, as well as infrastructure details and surface topography.
More than 20 international firms are currently exploring for — and in some cases producing — oil and gas in the Sultanate under Exploration and Production Sharing Agreements (EPSAs). A number of new EPSAs are due to signed before the end of this year, potentially attracting new players to Oman’s thriving oilfield sector.