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Thu 4 Nov 2010 05:22 PM

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Oil giants eye onshore blocks in Oman – official

Sultanate is expecting to boost its production to 900,000 barrels per day by 2011

Oil giants eye onshore blocks in Oman – official
Oman aims for a third consecutive increase in a row in 2010, with an output target averaging 860,000 barrels per day. (Getty Images)

France's Total, Britain's BP and Portugal's Partex are among the bidders to develop three onshore blocks in Oman, an official said on Thursday.

"We have had a lot of interests from oil majors to sign two year exploration agreements. If oil or gas is found, then the government will sign a long-term production agreements with the successful companies," the oil and gas ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Blocks 39, 66 and 67 are up for grabs with a total area of 18,200 sq km in the south of Oman.

The official said the bidding, which started in August, will be closed at the end of November and the ministry is expected to sign oil exploration agreements for the three blocks during the first quarter of 2011.

Total is already active in Oman, holding a 4 percent stake in the country's largest oil firm, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). Partex holds a smaller 2 percent stake in PDO while BP signed a concession in 2007.

The sultanate, which has already signed more than 20 exploration agreements, is expecting to boost its production to 900,000 barrels per day by 2011.

Oman turned around a decline in oil output to boost production in 2008 and 2009. It aims for a third consecutive increase in a row in 2010, with an output target averaging 860,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Output peaked in 2001 at 956,000 bpd. Oman is a small oil producer compared to its Gulf neighbours, and is independent of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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