Quest for unconventional oil and gas reserves intensifies: Jashmi -
By Conrad Prabhu -
SAIH RAWL (CENTRAL OMAN) — Exploration and Production Sharing Awards (EPSAs) covering five onshore oil and gas blocks are expected to be awarded before the end of this year, the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Oil & Gas stated here yesterday.
Nasser bin Khamis al Jashmi said bids received for four of the five blocks are currently under evaluation, while a bid round for the fifth block was launched earlier this week.
“We’ve already opened tenders for four blocks — 51, 55, 54 and 58. Those were tendered (some time ago). Bids were received recently and are under evaluation. These blocks, along with Block 65 (tendered earlier this week) make it in all five blocks that we possibly will be able to sign this year,” Al Jashmi told journalists in Saih Rawl, the central Oman hub of Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) gas processing operations, yesterday.
All five blocks are onshore concessions: Block 51(also known as Baqlah) is a 10,134 sq kilometre concession just above CC Energy’s Block 3. Block 55 (also known as Kahil) covers an area of 7,564 sq kilometres and is a coastal concession in Wusta Governorate. Just above is Block 54 (Karawan), a 5,632 sq kilometre concession adjoining PDO’s Block 6. Finally, Block 58 (Qatbeet) in the south of the Sultanate covers an area of 2,277 sq kilometres.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Oil & Gas invited international and local oilfield companies to bid for its onshore Block 65 in northwest Oman. Covering an area of 1,230 sq kilometres, 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.
Al Jashmi’s comments came after he joined other dignitaries at the formal launch of PDO’s Saih Rawl Depletion Compression Plant, a $650 million project to boost and sustain gas output from Saih Rawl in line with escalating domestic energy demand.
“The project will extend the life of the Saih Rawl field for at least another 20 years,” he said. “It will mainly meet existing demand and ensure that the field remains in production at the same rate as in the past,” the official added.
Significantly, gas exploration efforts are not limited to conventional plays alone, but potential unconventional reserves as well, the Under-Secretary pointed out. “Gas exploration is always continuing, it never stops. A lot of efforts are also focused on unconventional gas exploration, which we are going after now heavily.”
PDO, he said, had already drilled seven deep wells targeting tight gas reservoirs.
In fact, the quest for unconventional hydrocarbons covers unconventional oil as well, particularly Light Tight Oil (LTO), Al Jashmi stated.
“We are also targeting unconventional oil. We believe there is good potential for Light Tight Oil in Oman. We are also going after shale oil and shale gas. (Volumes) are not yet confirmed, but we will pursue those opportunities too,” the Under-Secretary stated.