US independent PetroTel has been awarded exploration and production sharing agreements (EPSAs) for two onshore licenses, kicking off what it expects will be a busy 2013 for exploration (MEES, 8 March). Agreements were signed with the Ministry of Oil and Gas (MOG) on 26 March, for a 100% working interest in Blocks 39 and 67, both of which were made available as part of a bid round in August 2010. With this acquisition, PetroTel brings its number of Omani assets to four, after winning the adjoining Blocks 17 and 40 in 2009 and 2011 respectively (MEES, 15 August 2011).

The contract is expected to run for six years and will commit the company to reprocess old 2D seismic, carry out new 2D seismic and conduct both geophysical and geological studies. A drilling campaign will follow if seismic results are positive. Oman’s MOG has said it does not bear any financial commitment during the exploration phase. (CONTINUED - 290 WORDS)