Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has discovered three new oil fields after an intense exploration programme in 2008 and 2009.

The new fields are Al-Ghubar South, Dafiq West and Anbar. These are located in central Oman, according to a PDO statement on 15 February.

Al-Ghubar is believed to be the biggest find, holding an estimated 1 billion barrels of heavy crude. PDO started tests on a steam-powered system to produce oil from the field in late 2009.

The Dafiq West and Anbar fields are still under appraisal and test production facilities are being built at both.

PDO has also discovered a potential new gas field in the north of the sultanate, according to a company statement. It plans to build two exploration wells to drill at depths of more than 5,000 metres during 2010.

PDO is one of Oman’s major oil and gas producers. The company is 60 per cent owned by the government while UK/Dutch Shell Group holds a 34 per cent stake and France’s Total and Portugal’s Partex hold 4 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.