French major Total is looking to expand its Omani portfolio, just 12-months after securing its first operating stake in the sultanate’s upstream. But despite the onshore licenses put on offer to investors in recent months, it is Oman’s offshore that has captured the imagination of Total executives. This comes at a time when Oman is pushing hard to drum up interest in its offshore acreage, which to date has largely been overlooked: of the 58 drilling rigs active in the country last month, none were offshore, according to latest data from US oil services giant Baker Hughes (see p6).

Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas (MOG) has targeted total oil production of 1mn b/d by mid-2015 – up from 947,000 b/d so far this year, with 956,000 b/d pumped in the third quarter – and sees the private sector as key in the sultanate’s efforts to meet this target. (CONTINUED - 973 WORDS)