Oman Oil Company (OOC), the wholly government-owned energy and strategic investment arm, says it will continue to pursue partnerships with leading international oil companies (IOCs) in its upstream business as part of its evolution into an integrated energy enterprise.
According to the company’s chief executive officer, high-profile partnerships unveiled in recent months with energy giants such as Shell and ENI are in line with this trend.
“Oman Oil Company is converging towards the concept of an integrated oil and gas company and that’s our vision,” said Isam al Zadjali, CEO. “We are at the moment consolidating all our assets under that vision. Part of this vision is to partner with international oil companies (IOCs) with experience, technical knowhow and the financial sources, and we are selectively choosing our partners. This trend will continue whereby we will not continue with any upstream project without a technical and competitive partner that will add value to the venture.” Speaking to journalists following the signing of agreements linked to the development of a major LPG Extraction project in Salalah, Al Zadjali said OOC is building relationships with several globally renowned energy giants.
“On the upstream front, we are partners with BP and Occidental; we have started relations with Shell in Block 42, and more recently with (Italian energy firm) ENI in offshore Block 52.”
Representing OOC’s upstream energy business is Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production (OOCEP), which has ramped up its profile in the oil and gas industry by forging new ties with these international heavyweights.
In April, the wholly government-owned OOC subsidiary signed a Heads of Agreement with Shell Exploration BV to collaborate on Oman Block 42, a 25,600 sq km concession with potentially promising geological plays. The pact calls for the initial aerial study of the Block before other activities are identified and carried out.
On the heels of that agreement came the announcement in May of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Italian-based international energy firm ENI. The OOCEP – ENI partnership was also awarded the licence to explore for hydrocarbons in Block 52 offshore the Sultanate’s southern and southeastern seaboard. The giant block, covering an area of 90,000 sq km, is largely unexplored.
OOCEP also represents OOC’s 40 per cent interest in Block 61 which is home to the giant tight gas Khazzan development, which is due to come into production before the end of this year. BP is the operator of the Block. Likewise, OOCEP has an interest in Block 53, also known as the Mukhaizna block, operated by Oxy Oman.
More recently, in February this year, OOCEP acquired a 45-per cent participating interest in Block 9 operated by Oxy Oman. Block 9, also known as the Suneinah block in north Oman, is a key source of hydrocarbons where output from the Safah and Wadi Latham fields averaged around 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in 2015.