US firm Occidental finalized contracts for blocks 51 and 65 this week, committing $65mn to be invested in seismic and exploration over two phases. The firm says it will drill 14 wells – five in Block 51 and nine in Block 65 – with both conventional and unconventional resources being the target. Oxy has 100% of Block 51 whilst 65 will be operated via a joint venture with state Oman Oil Company. Both offered up in the 2017 bid round (MEES, 15 September 2017), the blocks add to Oxy’s already sizeable Oman portfolio and give the firm a 350km contiguous stretch of assets across northern Oman which it says it will “leverage its existing infrastructure” (MEES, 9 November). Oxy operates the 120,000 b/d Mukhaizna heavy oil field with a 45% stake.