Muscat: Between 20 and 25 million barrels of oil can be recovered from the Mafraq Block 70 oil field in Oman, says the company tasked with its extraction.
Swedish oil and gas company Maha Energy plans on investing $20 million (about OMR 8 million) into the field, with its initial efforts involving precise mapping of the area, before embarking on an aggressive drilling strategy.
Although this might be Maha’s first foray into Oman, its top management are no strangers to Oman’s oil and gas setup. CEO Jonas Lindvall has been involved in oil and gas in Oman since 1986, and the company’s Vice President of Exploration and Production, Jamie McKeown, has overseen the drilling of and production from many offshore and onshore wells since the mid-80s.
“Maha’s philosophy is to acquire existing hydrocarbon assets and increase value by applying modern hydrocarbon recovery technologies,” said Lindvall. “As such, Maha is more of an engineering-based production and exploration company, rather than the traditional exploration and production company.
“The initial plan is to further define and appraise the field so that it can be brought on production in due course,” he added. “Secondly the company plans on drilling further exploration wells in the area. To that extent, the company is embarking on defining the existing seismic data to generate prospects to drill.”
“According to initial estimates from previous work done in the area, Maha estimates there is about 20 to 25 million barrels recoverable from the Mafraq field alone,” explained Lindvall.
Oman aside, Maha Energy – whose origins are in Canada – also has assets in two other countries: in the US, it oversees the Illinois basin that straddles the states of Illinois and Indiana, and the LAK Ranch in Wyoming. It operates two other fields in Brazil: Tie field in Bahia, and Tartaruga in Aracaju. Located in the interior of Oman, Block 70 in Mafraq represents their latest acquisition.
Founded in 2013 by Lindvall and former colleague Ron Panchuk, the upstream oil company has increased its output from 900 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOEPD) to 4,100 BOEPD, since it was first listed on Sweden’s Nasdaq Stockholm First North Growth Market in 2016. In December 2020, Maha’s listing moved to the Nasdaq Stockholm main market.
The company has plans to quadruple its energy production once again, over the coming four years, with Oman a key part of its expansion plans.
“Initially there will be limited job opportunities generated through the exploration work that the company will undertake in Oman,” Lindvall revealed. “However, during the early stages, the company will contribute to the Oman economy by purchasing local goods and services. “In the event the field generates commercial amounts of oil, we hope to expand its operations in the country to such an extent it can become a significant employer,” he added.
Block 70 is an onshore block that includes the shallow undeveloped Mafraq heavy oil field. The block is in the middle of the prolific oil producing Ghaba Salt Basin in the central part of Oman. The Mafraq oil field was discovered by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) in 1988 and was further delineated by four wells and 3D seismic activity in stages until 2010.
Two wells were placed on pump production tests, of which one was placed on an extended test in order to prove long term productivity. The block covers an area of 639 sq.km and is covered by both 2D and 3D seismic data that has been acquired by previous operators, and has been made available to Maha. Eight wells have been drilled within the block boundary, five of which are on the Mafraq oil field.