Circle planning to drill Oman asset

Circle Oil is set to further develop its Middle Eastern assets later this year with both drilling and farm-out activity planned.

The work is planned for its operations in Oman, where Circle has held two licences for the past nine years — one onshore and one offshore.

The company is aiming to drill an exploration well at its Block 49 concession, located close to the Saudi border, and has similar plans for its offshore Block 52 licence in the Arabian Sea.

Circle is also looking for a farm-out partner, to help it advance the latter offshore asset.

The company is understood to have been in negotiations with interested parties for a number of months.

In Oman — the largest non-OPEC affiliated hydrocarbon producer in the Middle-East — Circle has been continuing evaluation of the potential of its two blocks this year and is awaiting the outcome of a bid for a third exploration block, as part of the country’s latest licensing round, which opened last year.

Circle’s primary assets are based in North Africa and, there, it recently commenced work on its maiden offshore drilling campaign on a licence it holds off the coast of Tunisia.

Last month, the Limerick company — whose operations are spread across Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Oman — said, on the back of a strong set of annual results, that it is looking to expand its presence in northern Africa in a bid to further enhance shareholder value.

Those results — which detailed record revenue and production growth for 2013 — showed a near 30% rise in annual revenues to €68.7 million and a 15% boost to operating profits.

Management said that the next two years will be an exciting period for the company, with considerable activity being undertaken across all of its licence areas.

Chairman Stephen Jenkins added that the board intends to add additional projects within its existing regions of interest, with new projects and opportunities continuously being evaluated.


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