US independent Occidental Petroleum has made a hydrocarbon discovery in Abu Dhabi’s Onshore Block 3 that was awarded to the operator in 2019 as a part of the Emirate’s first ever licensing round.

Occidental’s chief executive Vicky Hollub said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Tuesday that the company has “made a multi-reservoir discovery in Block 3”.

“We still have more exploration and appraisal work to complete, but are highly encouraged by the results to date,” she said.

However, Hollub did not further elaborate on the potential of the new find.

Upstream has approached Occidental on the new discovery.

Promising acreage

Hollub earlier said the company had “completed two exploration wells with extremely promising results,” on the block.

The acreage lies in a 35-year concession agreement in the Al Dhafra region and adjacent to the Al Hosn Gas development. The onshore tract covers more than 5782 square kilometres of area.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) believes onshore Block 3 is a promising one and lies close to some of its huge onshore oil and gas fields.

“Existing 3D seismic data already covers a large part of the block which, combined with its proximity to the Shah, Asab, Haliba and Sahl fields, suggests the concession area has very promising potential,” the Abu Dhabi state giant had earlier said.

Occidental holds a 100% stake in Block 3 during the exploration phase and has plans to invest 893 million dirhams ($244 million).

“Upon successful exploration — and having established the commerciality of the discovered resources — Occidental will be granted the opportunity to develop and produce any discoveries,” Adnoc has previously said.

During the production phase, Adnoc will have an option to hold a 60% stake in the onshore concession.

Block 5 potential

In addition to Block 3, Adnoc last year awarded a key onshore exploration Block 5 to Occidental as a part of the Emirati giant's second licensing round launched.

Block 5 is the first key tract that was awarded by Adnoc, as a part of its second bid round.

Hollub added that the company sees a “significant potential in onshore Block 5".

Occidental will hold a 100% stake during the block’s exploration phase.