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Oman: US firm PetroTel to explore for hydrocarbons in Block 17

24 May 2009

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US-based international oil firm PetroTel Inc has won a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in Block 17 in the Musandam area of the Sultanate. Dr Mohammed bin Hamed al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, inked the Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) with Dr Anil Kumar Chopra, Chairman of PetroTel, at a brief signing ceremony held at the ministry yesterday. The Texas-based firm's local subsidiary, PetroTel Oman LLC, will be the operator of the 2,378 sq km block.

Significantly, Block 17 is the fourth block to have been awarded by the Ministry of Oil and Gas since the start of this year, attesting to the government's continuing success in attracting international oil firms to develop the country's vital hydrocarbon sector. Canada-based international oil firm Epsilon Energy Limited, Harvest Natural Resources Inc of the United States, and Malaysian energy giant Petronas, have all signed Exploration and Production Sharing Agreements with the Omani government over the past four months. Speaking to the Observer, Nasser bin Khamis al Jashmi, Oil and Gas Under-Secretary, said the government was confident of roping in new players in its quest to augment the country's oil and gas output.

'There are some open blocks that we are currently marketing. So far, we have been successful in attracting new companies to Oman. We hope to award these new blocks (in due course,' Al Jashmi stated. Block 17, the Under-Secretary said, is a newly created concession that lies partly onshore and partly offshore in Musandam Governorate. 'We hope this block has both oil and gas potential. There has been some exploration done (in this area) in the past, but (its potential) hasn't yet been commercialised.'

As part of a work programme drawn up for implementation during the appraisal phase, PetroTel Oman will reprocess oil seismic, acquire new seismic and drill exploration wells. At least one well will be drilled during the first phase, with two wells planned in the second phase, said Al Jashmi. Although Block 17 is PetroTel's first oil concession in the Sultanate, the Texas-based firm has provided oilfield consultancy services to Oman's hydrocarbon sector in the past.

The company is well recognised as an industry leader in a number of specialist oilfield services, including enhanced oil recovery, reservoir characterisation and simulation, coal-bed methane, production, and exploration technologies. PetroTel has a longstanding record of working with major oil companies in North and South America, South Asia, Russia, the Far East, Europe, and the Middle East.

PetroTel has also worked with some of the largest gas and gas condensate reservoirs in the world, and has special expertise in enhanced oil recovery technologies that include hydrocarbon miscible gas injection, CO2 flooding and gravity drainage, among other methodologies. In Oman, PetroTel is credited with having developed a novel methodology to evaluate infill drilling opportunities during waterflooding in Lekhwair Field. This methodology, the company says, has led to increased oil recovery and set a standard for world-class reservoir management practices in the Middle East.

Source: Oman Daily Observer

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