Total and PTTEP JV to invest $100 million in new Oman gas block

Oman has signed an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) with the partnership of French energy major Total and Thai state-owned energy conglomerate PTTEP covering the exploration of gas in Block 12 in central Oman. Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, signed the pact on behalf of the Omani government.
Total, with 80 per cent interest, is the operator of the 9,545 sq kilometre concession. PTTEP owns the remaining 20 per cent interest. The license grants the joint venture the right to explore for non-associated gas in the block.
In a statement, Dr Saleh bin Ali al Anbouri, Director General of Planning and Studies at the Ministry, said the latest pact was a further demonstration of the robust appeal of the Sultanate’s upstream sector to international operators notwithstanding the challenging economic environment globally. The complex geology associated with reservoirs in the Sultanate was not an impediment either, he noted.
The EPSA agreement commits the JV to undertake seismic surveys and conduct a number of geological and geophysical studies, as well as drill a number of exploration wells, over a two-stage investment phase spanning six years. Investments in both phases are estimated to total $100 million, he said.
Wednesday’s agreement builds on a Heads of Agreement (HoA) signed by the government with Total last year for the exploration Block 12 last April. It stems from a decision by the Ministry to implement an integrated gas project with the participation of multiple players, including Shell and Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production (OOCEP).
The integrated gas project centres on developing the gas resources of the Greater Barik area (Blocks 10, 11 and 12), as well as building and operating a liquefaction plant to offer a bunkering service and supply Liquefied Natural Gas as a fuel to marine vessels at Sohar Port. (Shell will use its share of the gas to serve a Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) project planned in Duqm. In Oman, Total’s SEC production was 38,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in 2018. Total holds 4 per cent interest in the onshore Block 6 (operated by Petroleum Development Oman), as well as in the Oman LNG (5.54 per cent) and Qalhat LNG (2.04 per cent).
PTTEP of Thailand has also grown its presence in the Sultanate with its latest investment in Block 12. Last year, the Thai state-owned energy giant acquired minor stakes in PDO and Oman LNG following its acquisition of Portuguese investor Partex, which had a longstanding, albeit modest, presence in Oman. Following the acquisition of Partex, PTTEP consequently acquired the Portuguese firm’s 2 per cent interest in PDO, 2 per cent interest in Oman LNG and one per cent interest in Mukhaizna heavy oil project.