‘Unconventional’ Tight Gas: Creating Unique Opportunity for the IOC, NOC, the Industry and the Nation

It is no secret that Oman is considered by many as a mature petroleum basin. However, this blessed basin is still experiencing successful exploration and production growth largely due to the following:

  • The innovative concepts developed by geoscientists and engineers supported by the advancement of geophysical technology in exploration.
  • New and alternative approaches brought in by different multinational companies.
  • Increased participation of local partnership and growing utilization of local experiences.
  • Uninterrupted efforts in development and applications of new technology and effectively maximizing its in-country value contribution.
  • Development of unconventionals, specifically the tight gas as a result of advancement in horizontal and underbalanced drilling techniques and fraccing technology.

The Khazzan-Makarem tight unconventional gas play is a real exploration and production challenge of the nineties, which is of a national strategic significance. The play existed for 20 years challenging the exploration and production experts, economists, legislators and the stakeholders to develop and produce gas commercially and economically. Today, albeit still a challenge, the gas development is positioned to creating unique opportunities for the IOC, NOC, the industry as a whole and the nation.

The Khazzan-Makarem tight unconventional gas play is a real exploration and production challenge of the nineties, which is of a national strategic significance. By Mohamed Al-Harthy, Oil & Gas Expert, and Former CEO OPAL

Considering how much drilling the basin has witnessed over its 40-year production history, the expected ultimate gas production and the economic multiplier effect that the project development is expected to create is truly amazing to behold.

The tight gas play is a reminder to the petroleum community from technical experts to investors and decision makers that even basins that appear to be matured can have significant untapped “unconventional” oil and gas potential.

It is also relevant to note that Oman is known to have world-class expertise in enhance oil recovery and needs to remain aggressive in applying the EOR technology and various other technologies like horizontal drilling and water flooding to boost recovery factors. This could add tremendous value in many fields and yield significant long-term production increases.

The significant potential volumes of new production from tight reservoirs will eventually add stability and confidence to Oman’s hydrocarbon production and reserves. Moreover, the tight gas development is projected to create jobs, support local manufacturing, increase services and construction of infrastructure and significantly add to the in-country value bottom line.

Looking forward, I believe that the Oil and Gas sector should persevere in pursuing the long and short term strategies in exploring geographically (including offshore) and stratigraphically (deeper) for unconventional gas and oil plays, development of tight gas and heightening EOR application to a level of potentially exporting it.

Together, these strategies should provide self-assurance to secure the future of Oman’s national economy by rebuilding a natural resources foundation that has been threatened by oil decline in the past years. As a positive byproduct, these strategies should aspire to position Oman as a regional Center of Excellence with capabilities of providing technology, consultancy and exporting talents.

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