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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. (CONTINUED - 117 WORDS)