Strong Initial Interest in New Oman Licensing Round

Source: Oman Observer 10/16/2016, Location: Middle East

Initial interest in the four oil and gas blocks offered as part of the 2016 Oman Licensing Round has been very promising, according to a top official of the Ministry of Oil & Gas.

Salim bin Nasser al Aufi (pictured), Under-Secretary, said the acreage in question, comprising Block 30 (Hafar), Block 31 (Suneinah North), Block 49 (Montasar) and Block 52, has attracted hundreds of hits from prospective investors from over a dozen countries since the round was unveiled on October 12, 2016.

“Based on statistics we have seen so far, the website on which the details have been posted has attracted over 1,000 hits from more than 20 countries worldwide, indicating that there is good interest in these blocks,” Al Aufi said. “Of course, registration and bidding starts only from October 23, when interested companies will have to pay a fee to register and get access to the data. But given the level of interest shown so far, it’s comforting that there is an appetite in the market for the blocks,” the official added.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a briefing of the Ministry’s roll-out of its new Mogas-91 grade of petrol, the Under-Secretary said selection of the blocks for the latest licensing round was based on their hydrocarbon prospectivity. “We tried to select a mix of good blocks and less attractive blocks and we are hoping the market will respond accordingly. We have more blocks coming,” he said.

In going to market with the four blocks, the Ministry has sought to provide investors with far more insights about the acreage than usually made available at the outset, he said. “We studied the blocks geologically and have actually provided to the investors some indication of prospectivity. Of course, it’s only an indication, not a guarantee! But we are offering the market a little bit more than raw data, plus some interpretation, that they can use to shortcut their evaluation process.”

Block 30, a 1,185 km2 concession straddling the Hajar Mountains, is located to the northeast of some of Oman’s largest oil fields. It was relinquished by DNO last year. To the northwest of Block 30 is Block 31, a 8,526 km2 area also vacated by DNO last year.


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