Oman is currently finalising development plans for Habhab oil field and is looking at potential investors, according to HE Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, who was speaking at the World Heavy Oil Congress & Exhibition (WHOC) inauguration on Monday.
The undersecretary said that Oman would continue to invest in the heavy oil sector despite of the current concerns over oil demand and added that the last bidding round launched by the Ministry of Oil and Gas had at least one block that can be considered as a heavy oil block.
“We are quite surprised by the interest we received for that particular block. We are currently finalising the details, which we believe will be potentially attractive for developers. We will announce the block as soon as these details are finalised. Besides this, we are also looking for a potential investor for Habhab oil field, which is also a very challenging field. The Ministry of Oil and Gas is currently finalising development for the block. As soon as the development plan is finalised, we will present it to investors.”
Once operational, Habhab oil field will be the sixth heavy oil block and has promising hydrocarbon potential, said to be in the order of one billion barrels of oil in place. Oman already has five operational heavy oil blocks, four of which are maintained by Petroleum Development Oman while one is run by Occidental Oman.
The Undersecretary added that different recovery mechanisms are used in to recover heavy oil in Oman and it accounts between 15-20% of the total crude produced by the sultanate. Heavy oil or hydrocarbon reserves are not easy to explore or extract and therefore require additional procedures and methods.
Meanwhile, Moody’s in its review of Oman’s credit profile (issuer rating Ba1) said on Monday that the rating is reflective of the country’s ‘Moderate (+)’ economic strength, which balances very high-income levels with high reliance on the hydrocarbon sector. It added that the “Moderate (-)” institutional strength was underpinned by relatively strong governance indicators but also reflected a slow policy response to address fiscal vulnerabilities to lower oil prices.