Oman has invited foreign explorers to bid on six oil blocks set to be awarded before the end of the year as the Middle Eastern state eyes a seven-figure daily oil output.

“Two blocks will be awarded next month and the other four will be evaluated in the coming months,” a ministry of oil and gas official told Reuters, declining to be named under briefing rules.

The total area of the blocks being awarded is around 12,000 square kilometres, the official added, declining to reveal the names of the firms bidding.

The country produces an average of 902,000 barrels of oil per day, according to its own official statistics.

Its oil and gas minister Mohammad bin Hamad al-Rumhy said last year that the non-OPEC producer was aiming for production of 1 million barrels per day of oil and condensate in the next three years.

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), which is led by Shell but majority-owned by the Omani government, accounted for the bulk of Oman’s crude output, racking up 549,000 barrels per day last year.

The producer has however been struggling to lift output thanks to ageing fields, with annual production even slightly down on 2010’s 553,000 barrels per day.

A total of around 25 foreign explorers are currently active in the sultanate.

Source: Upstream Online