Oman sees oil production rising to 1 mln bpd

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MUSCAT, Nov 17 (Reuters) Non-OPEC oil exporter Oman will invite international oil firms to sign production sharing deals early next year to help increase output to 1 million barrels a day, a senior oil ministry official said on Saturday.

Undersecretary of Oil and Gas Nasser al-Jashmi told Reuters most of the increase would come from three major oil fields already in production, but declined to give a specific timeframe for the target.

''We see our future production rising to a million barrels per day mainly coming from al-Mukhaizna, Harweel and Qarn Alam,'' he said. ''We will (also) be aggressively marketing a few blocks, especially in the south of Oman as part of our target to increase output.'' The hydrocarbons sector accounts for 80 percent of Oman's export earnings and 40 percent of GDP and the sultanate is trying to halt the decline in production that began in 2001.

The independent exporter produced an average of 730,000 barrels per day for the first nine months of 2007, up 5 percent from the same period last year, economy ministry statistics show. Its oil production in 2006 fell to around 720,000 bpd from about 774,000 in 2005 and 780,000 in 2004, industry sources say.

Oman is undertaking a number of enhanced oil recovery projects to get more oil out of existing fields as part of a billion plan to boost oil and gas output.

REUTERS BJR HS1621

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