ARA Petroleum LLC, which made its debut in Oman’s upstream sector last year with the acquisition of Block 44 from Thailand’s PTTEP, has ambitions to grow internationally, according to the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
Sultan al Ghaithi said the company, which signed an Exploration & Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) yesterday with the Ministry of Oil & Gas for Block 31 onshore Oman, already has indirect oilfield investments outside the Sultanate, and is also undertaking a key service contract for Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) covering a field in central Oman.
“We want to be a stronger player here in the Sultanate,” Al Ghaithi said. “Having a local setup will allow us to go to the international market as well.”
ARA’s newest acquisition — the 8,528 sq km Block 31 in the northwest of the Sultanate — is located adjacent to Block 44, a feature that was key to its bid for this concession, said the CEO.
“It makes it more economical for us in the case of a discovery. Besides, it will be much easier to use existing the infrastructure to accelerate production of the field when a discovery is made. Also, when you look at the subsurface, we have the same team that handled (Block 44), so the knowledge can be shared. It will be much easier for one team to handle the whole thing. But at the end of the day, commerciality is the most important thing; it’s key for us to get into this block.”
Aside from its investments in Blocks 44 and 31, ARA Petroleum is also undertaking a Service Contract for PDO covering the exploration and development of Qarat al Milh, a small field near Qarn Alam in central Oman. “This contract requires a lot of investment because of the amount of activity there – we have 12 discoveries and we have to develop them faster than anywhere else,” said Al Ghaithi.
Additionally, the company is also focused on building a development plan for the Shams field in Block 44. “There are some oil discoveries that we are looking to accelerate as well. Hopefully, by the middle of next year, we will start major activities, like drilling some wells to boost production.”
Output from Shams currently averages 16 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, in addition to 700 bpd of oil.