Oman is in talks with supermajors Shell and TotalEnergies to develop onshore Block 11, which lies in proximity to its prolific gas-rich Block 10.

Salim al Aufi, under-secretary of Oman’s Ministry of Energy & Minerals, told local media this week that the nation is in talks with the two companies to sign a commercial agreement to develop Block 11.

“Discussions are ongoing now to finalise the commercial agreement between the government and the same (Block 10) partners for Block 11,” he said.

Shell and its partners Omani state-owned energy company OQ and Marsa LNG — a joint venture between French giant TotalEnergies and OQ — signed a Block 10 concession agreement with Oman’s Ministry of Energy & Minerals in December to develop and produce natural gas.

According to the concessions agreement, Shell will hold a 53.45% operating stake, with OQ and Marsa LNG holding 13.36% and 33.19%, respectively.

Block 10 is said to be strategic for Oman and is expected to bridge the gap between the nation’s gas supply and future consumption needs.

Additional awards

Al Aufi added that the government also plans to award at least three exploration blocks this year, as it aims to step up its search for oil and gas resources.

He said Oman has three blocks on offer and bids are likely to be submitted by 31 March.

Al Aufi said Oman will initiate a bid evaluation process after the bid submissions, with awards expected to be finalised later this year.

However, he did not elaborate on key acreage likely to be awarded as a part of the ongoing bid process.

BP currently operates Block 61 in Oman, which produces a third of the country’s gas demand.

LNG export facility

The Marsa LNG joint venture, in which TotalEnergies holds an 80% stake, was created recently as a liquefied natural gas export company.

The LNG export facility plans to sell gas from Block 10’s Saih Rawl field to the government for 18 years or until the start-up of the planned LNG plant.

TotalEnergies is understood to be separately carrying out a tender process for the LNG export facility destined for Marsa LNG, but is yet to formally announce the winner.