Muscat is looking to woo back international oil and gas companies

Oman’s oil and gas ministry will award concessions tendered in its latest bid round during the first quarter of next year, with the licensing rounds set to become an annual event, according to sources.

“Awards of Oman’s latest bid round will be announced three months after the bid closing date. The awards can be expected to be announced in March 2018 during the ministry of oil and gas briefing,” a senior source tells MEED.

The ministry has tendered four concessions – blocks 43B, 47, 51 and 65 – in the bid round launched on 20 September. MEED understands that several international oil and gas companies have expressed interest in the blocks on offer and have purchased geological data. The round closes on 30 December.

“We’re considering offering three to five blocks every year, and will hold a bid round next year as well,” added the source.

MEED reported that Oman has awarded all four concessions tendered in the first upstream licensing round in October 2016. The awards are expected to be officially announced through a royal decree in a few weeks. Three onshore concessions – 30, 31, 49 – as well as the offshore Block 52, which was awarded to Italian oil major Eni were tendered as part of the licensing round last year.

Oman has begun wooing back international exploration and production firms, which exited the sultanate in 2014-15 following the slump in oil prices. The country’s high breakeven price, maturing fields and tough terrain make it a difficult place to explore for oil and gas.