QP to Partner Eni on Oman Block 52 (Update on other blocks)
Eni has entered into an exploration and production sharing agreement (Epsa) for block 52, offshore Oman. An update on three onshore blocks, and blocks currently on offer, is provided far below.
The signing ceremony November 14 was attended by Oman's oil and gas minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, the chief executive of Oman Oil Company Isam Al Zadjali, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, but also by Qatar Petroleum CEO Saad Sherida Al Kaabi (see photo above).
Block 52 is a 90,760 km2 underexplored offshore area with hydrocarbons potential located offshore in the southern region of Oman, said Eni, with water depths ranging from 10 to over 3,000 meters. The block was awarded to Eni October 2016 in an international licensing round on the basis that Eni would have an 85% interest, and partner OOC E&P the remaining 15%.
However in Muscat, Eni and Qatar Petroleum (QP) signed an agreement to farm down a 30% interest to QP – under which block 52 interests will be Eni 55%, QP 30% and OOC E&P 15%. Descalzi noted that Eni was thus "welcoming Qatar Petroleum as a partner in Block 52, to join our efforts with such a strong partner that is currently leading the LNG business worldwide."
The most recent development onshore Oman has been the BP-led Khazzan tight gas venture, which started production in September and was recently officially inaugurated. Eni has not indicated what type of hydrocarbon its exploration efforts will be targeting offshore Oman.
Update as of November 14, 4pm: Newspaper The Times of Oman has reported that the government also signed EPSAs for three onshore blocks 49, 31 and 30, all covering large areas. Block 49 has been signed with UK-listed Tethys Oil, block 31 with ARA Petroleum (the upstream subsidiary of Oman-based privately owned Zubair Corporation), and block 30 jointly to US independent Occidental with Oman's OOC E&P. At least ten onshore blocks meanwhile remain on offer in Oman's 2017 Licensing Round, which closes December 31 and is detailed here.