Muscat: The Ministry of Oil and Gas signed on Wednesday a new Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) with a joint-venturing consortium of Total E&P and PTTEP for having the rights to explore and develop the non-associated gas resources within Block 12.

The agreement was signed by Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, Minister of Oil and Gas, on behalf of Oman’s Government, and Stephane Michel (Vice President E&P Middle East & North Africa) representing Total E&P and Phongsthorn Thavisin, (President and Chief Executive Officer) representing PTTEP.

Block 12 occupies an approximate area of 9,546 square kilometres and it is located in central Oman. Pursuant the EPSA, Total E&P is the operator of the block and with 80 per cent participating interest whereas PTTEP holds the remaining 20 per cent of the participating interest.

The commitment of the consortium under this agreement starts with seismic activities. Then, the operator will conduct geological and geophysical studies and drill a number of exploration wells during the exploration period.

The Ministry of Oil and Gas wishes that Total E&P and PTTEP efforts would be crowned with the success in discovering hydrocarbons that will increase the production rates and accordingly the reserves in the country.

Dr Saleh bin Ali Al Anboori, Director General of Planning and Studies at the Ministry of Oil and Gas said that as per the agreement, the two companies have the right to explore non-associated gas in two periods every three-year.

He pointed out that the total investment value of the two phases stands at approximately $100 million.

In his statement to the reporters, he explained that signing the agreement gives a clear indication that despite the crises the region is going through and the complex geological structures of the Sultanate, the Sultanate has succeeded in attracting foreign investments.

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