EXCLUSIVE: IOCs express interest in Ras al-Khaimah oil and gas blocks

09 April 2018
Companies visit RAK Gas offices in the UAE and London to view data on seven oil blocks

International oil companies (IOCs) have shown interest in investing in the UAE emirate of Ras al-Khaimah’s first ever oil and gas block licensing round, according to the chief executive of the state-owned company managing the exercise.

Operating company RAK Gas recently announced it had launched the licensing round by opening the data rooms containing exclusive information about the seven blocks – four offshore and three onshore – on offer.

“We do have some of the IOCs coming to our data rooms, which means they are involved in the process,” RAK Gas CEO Nishant Dighe told MEED.

He did not mention the names of the IOCs that have expressed interest.

Dighe mentioned that RAK Gas presented details about the emirate’s licensing round and potential opportunities for international investors during the International Petroleum (IP) Week event in London in February.

“We had tremendous response from IOCs, ranging from small companies to the very large ones,” he said. "The whole range of companies are engaged in this process. I think that is a recognition of the fact that this is an investor-friendly process with good commercial terms."

“The UAE is a fantastic place to invest. It is a rare opportunity pick up some acreage in the UAE,” he added.

The 3D seismic survey work to determine the nature and properties of the oil and gas blocks, and to understand potential reserves, was carried out by Dubai-based seismic services firm Polarcus, Dighe revealed.

Polarcus undertook survey work of the 2,200 square kilometres acreage in late 2017 and completed it in mid-February this year, following which the data rooms were opened.

The physical data rooms containing detailed historical information about the blocks and results of the new seismic surveys are available for a “nominal admin charge” in RAK Gas’ offices in Ras al-Khaimah and London, Dighe said.

“We have companies coming to our RAK office to spend up to four days to review the data. It is a physical process and we prefer to do it that way,” he said.

RAK Gas will let interested parties evaluate the data rooms and explain the Exploration & Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) being offered by the emirate’s government to them, until July. It expects submission of bids to start in August and carry on until mid-November.

Dighe said he expects the bid evaluation process for awarding the EPSA contracts “to be very simple because we’re not prescribing what the commercial terms are”, implying that RAK Gas should be able to announce winners by the end of that month.

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