Italian oil major Eni has acquired rights over the only maritime block offered during the Oman’s latest licensing round that was launched in late 2016. The transaction came as a considerable fillip to Muscat’s long-standing efforts to find and develop offshore oil and gas reserves, Your Industry News reported.

According to Arabian Oil and Gas, the allocation was made in the context of a broader co-operation agreement with state-owned Oman Oil Company (OOC). It coheres with the broader strategy of enlisting the assistance of IOCs to partner the parastatal’s upstream arm in enhancing undeveloped acreage across the sultanate.

The block is the only one of four offered during the bid round to have been allocated thus far.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in Milan by OOC’ CEO, Isam Al Zadjali, and his Eni counterpart, Claudio Descalzi. It granted the Italian firm, in partnership with OOC’ subsidiary Oman Oil Company for Exploration & Production (OOCEP), exploration rights in Block 52, with neither the size of the respective shareholdings nor the precise nature of the license agreement revealed.

The block covers a 90,760 square km area off the sultanate’s southeast coast and was described in information released by the Ministry of Oil and Gas, when launching the latest licensing round in October 2016, as being primarily an oil target.