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Ras al Khaimah tees up round

Emirate plans to launch offshore licensing exercise in 2018, with government-owned player RakGas in market for seismic shoot

The emirate of Ras al Khaimah is set to launch an offshore licensing round next year.

Industry sources suggested the acreage offering by Ras al Khaimah, which is part of the United Arab Emirates, could be launched as early as the first quarter of 2018, although the timing will be partly influenced by when fresh seismic data can be acquired and processed.

It is understood that RakGas, the emirate's 100%-owned oil and gas player, is in the market for a 2000-square kilometre 3D seismic shoot, with a decision on a preferred contractor thought to be imminent.

RakGas aims to secure full or part-industry funding for this offshore shoot.

The survey work is due to start this year, and data from it will underpin the planned acreage offering.

Ahead of availability of this new seismic, data rooms are already open in the emirate and at the UK offices of Getech-owned ERCL, which is supporting the licensing effort.

The emirate has a Cretaceous play, proven by the recently closed-down offshore Saleh field, and potential Cenozoic, Jurassic and Permian plays.

Ras al Khaimah has had no domestic oil and gas production since operator DNO and RakGas shut down Saleh in 2016, after about 20 years of intermittent output.

Saleh is located in the north-east of the emirates' exclusive economic zone and is connected to shore via a pipeline.

The field was brought on stream in 1984, but problems with high water cuts and pressure decline in the Mishrif-Mauddud reservoir saw the field producing only intermittently from 1996.

Saleh’s deeper Thamama reservoir — which is productive in the West Bukha field off neighbouring Oman — remains largely untapped, while Jurassic potential also exists.

By the end of 2011, more than 105 billion cubic feet of gas and 14 million barrels of condensate had been produced from Saleh.

The field was developed via six wellhead platforms and a 50-kilometre, 18-inch pipeline taking output to the Khor Khwair gas processing plant, which currently hosts production from the Bukha complex.

Assuming future exploration is successful, availability of this infrastructure will improve project economics.

Ras al Khaimah’s north-west offshore area hosts the Rak-B oil and gas find, which DNO relinquished after failing to come up with a viable development plan. After being discovered in 1976 by Vitol, the Rak B-1 well flowed up to 7 million cubic feet per day of gas, between 1800 and 2200 barrels per day of condensate from a Thamama reservoir and 3000 bpd of oil from an Ilam reservoir.