GAIL consortium inks E & P sharing agreement for Oman Block

Mumbai: GAIL India Ltd and its consortium partners signed an exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) with the government of the Sultanate of Oman for Block 56 in Muscat on Wednesday. The agreement was signed in the presence of Mohammed bin Hamed Al-Rumhy, minister of oil & gas, Sultanate of Oman, other government dignitaries and senior officials of the ministry.

The ONGC consortium partners will have a 25 per cent participating interest each in exploration and production. Block 56 is an onshore block located in the South Oman Salt Basin area and covers an area of 5,809 square km. The block, adjacent to existing producing fields, was the consortium's first choice block, and the highest rated of the blocks on offer in the January 2006 round.

The Sultanate of Oman had offered five blocks (Block 54, 55, 56, 57 and Block 58) in the fringes of the South Oman salt basin under competitive bidding round. The blocks 54, 55 and 56 are in the eastern flank, whereas block 57 and 58 are in the western flank.

As per the commitment by the consortium under the EPSA, the work will commence with reprocessing of existing seismic data followed by acquisition of 2D and 3D seismic in last quarter of 2006 depending on availability of seismic contractors. Drilling activity in the block is expected to start some time in the first half of 2007.

With the award of this block, ONGC's total exploration acreage has increased to 91,350 sq. km. ONGC now holds a participating interest in 16 exploration blocks. Of these, seven are on-land blocks and nine are offshore blocks. The various consortium partners of the company in the 16 blocks are ONGC, GSPC, Gazprom, OIL, IOC, Hardy Exploration & Production, Enpro Finance Pvt Ltd., ENI India Ltd, Jubiliant, GGR Canada, Daewoo, OVL, Korea Gas, Oilex, Videocon, BPCL and HPCL. ONGC's participating interests in these blocks varies between 10 to 80 per cent.