The Ministry of Oil and Gas has floated tenders inviting bids from international oil firms for developing seven oil and gas blocks on production sharing basis.
These tenders are for developing three offshore and four onshore areas and are floated close on the heels of signing two concession agreements with multi-nation oil giants for oil exploration in block 66 and 38.
The offshore blocks are 18, 41 and 59, while onshore blocks are 43A, 48, 56 and 57, Dr Saleh A Al Anboori , Director General of Management of Petroleum Investment, told Times of Oman. The offshore block 18 was relinquished by India's Reliance Industries a couple of years ago.
"The Ministry is inviting companies with experience in deep water offshore and onshore blocks for the forthcoming bid round. The participating companies need to have relevant technical capabilities and financial resources to explore and develop potential hydrocarbon resources,- he added.
The last date for submitting bids for companies is January 31, 2013. Thereafter, the authorities will evaluate bids and negotiate with shortlisted companies for finalising the concession deal. Dr Al Amboori said the government is trying to open up both offshore and onshore blocks for development in a bid to enhance hydrocarbon resources in the country.
The Ministry of Oil and Gas has signed concession agreements for two blocks -“ 38 and 66 -“ in the last two months. The block 38 was awarded to Frontier Resources Oman Ltd and the British firm will explore oil and natural gas spread in an area of 17.425 square kilometres in Dhofar region. Frontier is planning to invest $20 million in the next three years for early oil and gas exploration programmes.
Similarly, MOL Oman  signed a concession agreement with Oman government for developing block 66 in Dhofar region and is planning to invest $30 million over the next four to six years for early exploration programmes within the block.
The Hungary-based oil giant is planning to drill two test wells in the onshore concession area, which is spread in a large area of 4,898 square kilometres in Al Wusta and Dhofar region.
The estimated oil reserve in place in this block is around 200 million barrels.
Dr Al Anboori said as many as twenty-two multinational firms are currently exploring for -” and in some cases producing -“ oil in several concession blocks in the Sultanate under production sharing agreements. Presently, multinational oil companies contribute 30 per cent of total crude production, while PDO constitutes the remaining 70 per cent oil output.
As huge investment is required for bringing oil above the ground in view of the peculiar nature of reservoirs in Oman , the government has been encouraging multinational firms to undertake exploration on production sharing basis. These agreements manifest the successful ongoing efforts by the Ministry to attract international oil companies in the development of Oman's economic mainstay.