New Block 30 licensee to be named in January

By Business Reporter — MUSCAT: Dec. 17: A new licensee for Block 30, which was relinquished by Norway-based DNO last year, will be announced next month, according to a news report published by Interfax Natural Gas Daily. The publication quoted an official of Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas as saying that the onshore block, straddling the Hajar Mountains, has already attracts more bids from international oil companies. Bids were invited from October 23 to November 15, 2016, with Asian investors showing keen interest as well.
Block 30 is one of four blocks currently being offered by the ministry. The others are blocks 31, 49 and 52. Bids for Block 31, which was also relinquished by DNO in 2015, are to be submitted by December 29, and the ministry intends to inform the winning bidder by January 31, 2017.
Despite the challenging oil price environment, the Sultanate is optimistic that the bid offers will be interesting, Interfax said. The publication quoted Suleiman al Ghunaimi, the Director of Petroleum Concessions at the Ministry of Oil and Gas, as stating: “We take into account all of the factors, including the oil price.”
“For exploration blocks, it is after five — or maybe six — years before you can make your first export sale so I think this hasn’t affected us very much in terms of low oil prices because we see interest from the number of companies that participated,” the official noted. A number of Asian companies participated in the bid process, many for the first time. While Asian companies have typically had long-standing relationships with Omani companies in the oil and gas sector, they have not previously submitted bids, according to Al Ghunaimi.