Oman’s Oil and Gas Ministry has awarded a production-sharing contract to the local subsidiary of Hungarian energy group MOL on onshore block 66.

The block, which covers 4,989 square kilometres, is located in the west of the sultanate near the Saudi border within the Al-Wusta and Dhofar governorates. The agreement gives MOL Oman the right to explore, develop and produce oil and gas resources within the area.

“The commitments of the company under this agreement are to reprocess old seismic and acquire new 2D and 3D seismic [data], and drill exploration wells during exploration periods,” the ministry said in a statement.

Block 66 is one of two agreements the ministry said it would award in September. The other is block 38, which is also within the southern Dhofar region. The ministry was also expecting to receive bids from international oil companies for four oil blocks in the north and centre of the company by the end of August.

Oman, which is not a member of Opec, is facing declining oil production at its existing fields and is investing heavily in expanding production through new technology and enhanced recovery processes.