By an OGJ correspondent
BANGKOK, July 30 -- Oman's Ministry of Oil & Gas has awarded an oil and gas exploration license in Oman to PTTEP Middle East Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Thailand's PTT Exploration & Production PLC (PTTEP), marking the company's first entry into Middle East exploration.
The license is for Block 44, about 300 km west of Muscat. It covers an area of 1,162 sq km near Safah field, which presently produces 30,000-40,000 b/d of oil.
PTTEP will operate Block 44, which it owns entirely under the production-sharing contract with Oman.
PTTEP Middle East plans to spend at least $9 million to explore the tract over the next 3 years, according to PTTEP Pres. Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith. A 2D seismic survey is expected to begin by yearend, with drilling of an exploration well planned in the third year.
PTTEP has been pursuing upstream interests in Oman, Iran, and Bahrain in order to expand its portfolio beyond Southeast Asia (OGJ Online, July 16, 2002).
"Over the past 2 years, we have studied exploration and production activities in Oman, and Block 44 was identified as the best available prospect for exploration," said Chitrapongse.
Oman was the second largest source of crude oil for Thailand last year, accounting for 22% of the kingdom's imported crude.