Swedish independent Maha Energy has received an extension to 31 December for the first phase of its Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) at Oman’s Block 70. The Swedish company holds a 65% stake alongside Omani firm Mafraq Energy (35%). Maha’s EPSA was awarded in 2020 and the initial three-year exploration contract was due to expire in October, with the firm studying results from its first eight test wells to decide whether to seek a second three-year exploration term. That deadline has now been pushed back to the end of the year, and Maha now “intends to implement activities and tests necessary to support any decision regarding a second phase of the EPSA, a possible declaration of commerciality of Block 70 or relinquishment.” Each test well produced around 300 b/d of ultra-heavy oil, and the key challenge for Maha is now to reduce viscosity and enhance flowability to enable transportation (MEES, 4 August).