Foreign majors Total and Shell this week signed an ‘interim upstream agreement’ with Oman’s oil ministry and state-led firms OOC and PDO that “details the funding and a work program for 2019” that will see the two firms explore gas prospects in the Greater Barik area west of the Saih Rawl gas field in PDO’s massive Block 6 (see map). The agreement follows an MoU signed last May between the parties to develop an integrated project that includes a Total-led effort to build a 1mn t/y LNG bunkering facility at Sohar as well as a Shell-led gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility (MEES, 18 May 2018).

The move is another vote of confidence from majors for Oman (MEES, 18 January) and is emblematic of the sultanate’s ongoing gas renaissance. Boosted by the ramp-up of BP’s 1bn cfd Khazzan tight gas project in Q1 last year, LNG production reached 10mn tons for the year (MEES, 25 January). The LNG bunkering and GTL projects also fall in line with Muscat’s push to move up the value chain and cash in on the country’s limited hydrocarbon resources. (CONTINUED - 242 WORDS)