Exploration activities targeting Oman’s largest offshore hydrocarbon concession — Block 52 — are expected to commence by early next year at the latest, according to a high-level official representing the operator, the Italian energy giant Eni.
Salvatore Giammetti (pictured), Managing Director — Eni, said a contract for the deployment of a specialised seismic ship is due to be awarded at the end of this month, paving the way for exploration activities to commence in earnest.
“We are in the tender phase in line with our schedule, and we would like to sign an award for the contract by the end of September in order to be ready to start the operations between the end of this year and the beginning of next year,” the Managing Director said.
Giammetti was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of yesterday’s landmark Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) for Block 77, a potentially promising gas block in central Oman.
Eni’s local subsidiary Eni Oman BV is the operator of Block 52 — a massive 90,790 sq kilometre concession — with a 55 per cent stake. Qatar Petroleum holds a 30 per cent interest, while Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production (OOCEP) — the upstream investment arm of Oman Oil & Orpic Group — owns the balance 15 per cent.
Although largely unexplored, the roughly sprawling concession extending from Oman’s southern and southeastern seaboard, is believed to be prospective for hydrocarbon resources based on evidence of the presence of petroleum systems in the block. Water depths range from 10 metres near the coast to 3,000 metres at the deep end, underscoring the challenges for Eni in the exploration and production, if any, of subsea resources.