Novus will assume operatorship and hold a 100% working interest in the block. Initial work commitments include geological mapping and 2D seismic reprocessing and acquisition. Depending upon the results of these studies, a well may subsequently be drilled.
Fieldwork mapping is already underway and has revealed several promising leads in the context of the company's work on the regional Northern Arabian Peninsula gas condensate play. The fieldwork has been carried out in conjunction with similar work commitments in Blocks 15 and 47 as all three blocks are contiguous. Approaching the fieldwork in this manner has allowed Novus to bring a regional perspective to exploration of these blocks that was previously more difficult to achieve when the blocks were held by a number of different companies.
In common with Blocks 15 and 47, the area remains under-explored to date with only three wells drilled in the block. This lack of exploration is mainly due to the fact that although it has been recognized as a basin with potential for gas condensate for many decades, until recently there has been no gas market to make exploration appear economic. Dramatic growth throughout the Gulf region in gas consumption has now created a window of opportunity and gas is no longer considered a worthless discovery in this region. The production of condensate associated with these gas fields would further enhance the economics of a discovery and as a consequence this play is now considered highly attractive.
Novus chief executive Bob Williams said: "The award of Block 31 to Novus is another positive move forward for us in Oman and is the culmination of our intent to build a significant acreage position in the country. Almost certainly this could not have been achieved were it not for the excellent rapport we have built up with the government of Oman." He added: "Having now established the acreage position, it is time to move onto the hard work of exploration. Our geologists have already begun mapping the surface geology and have identified several large leads in Block 47, which have positive implications for the prospectivity of Block 31. Further north off the coast of the Musandam Peninsula later this year Novus expects to drill its first well in Oman on the Tibat prospect which is geologically analogous to the leads we have identified so far."
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