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Oil industry activity has been ongoing in Oman for over 90 years. As is typical the initial work involved surface mapping of the geology, paleontological studies, air photo analysis, local gravity and magnetics work and seismic data collection. Such work ultimately resulted in the discovery of oil and the focus then shifted to field development and creating the pipeline infrastructure to connect the fields to the coast. Finally, concession areas, blocks, were defined by the government and bid-out to the industry at large. This ushered in a new wave of exploration, discovery and development within the Sultanate. To appreciate this history some of the important industry events and their dates are noted below.

18 May 1925

Sultan Taimur bin Faisal signs agreement with D'Arcy Exploration Company, Ltd. granting a 2 year exploration license, with 2 year extension possible, covering all of Oman. Geological mapping and surveying begin along coastal areas of Oman.

24 June 1937

Sultan Said bin Taimur grants IPC, the parent company of what is now PDO, two 75 year concessions, one covering Dhofar and the other the rest of Oman. Geological mapping and survey activities continue with partial penetration into the interior regions of Oman. Work stopped due to second world war.


Dhofar Cities Service Petroleum Company acquires the Dhofar concession relinquished by IPC in 1951.

1 May 1955

The first oil well in Oman spudded by Dhofar Cities Services Petroleum Corp in its Dhofar concession: Dauka-1. Located 120 miles north of Salalah TD was 11,767 ft. in Paleozoic sandstones. It is a dry hole.

18 January 1956

The third oil well in Oman is spudded by IPC: Fahud-1. It is a dry hole, having missed the Fahud Field oil accumulation by less than 250 yards.


First oil discovery in Oman was by Dhofar-City Services in 1956: Marmul-1, later deemed non-commercial.


First geologic map of Oman presented by D. M. Morton at the "Geology of Oman, Proceedings of the 5th World Petroleum Congress."

1 October 1960

IPC's Oman holdings significantly change and Shell officially takes over management of Petroleum Development Company (Oman).

28 March 1962

Petroleum Development Company (Oman) spuds the Yibal-1. The well blows out as it announces the discovery of the Yibal Field. This is Oman's first commercial oil field.

27 July 1967

The first shipment of oil from Oman: 543,800 bbls. Carried by the tanker Mosprince and bound for Japan.

5 August 1968

Wintershall spuds the Batinah Marine B-1 exploration well, the first offshore well drilled in Oman. It reaches a TD of 15,194 ft. and is a dry hole.

23 July 1970

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said ascends to the throne. The Oman Renaissance begins.


What will eventually become the Ministry of Oil and Gas is created as a Directorate General within the Ministry of Economy. Over the coming years it will be moved to the Ministry of Development and then the Ministry of Minerals, Fisheries and Agriculture.

4 December 1973

PDO reaches an agreement with the government which gives Oman a 25% interest in its concession starting 1 January 1974. Further negotiations during 1974 will result in a government/PDO split of 60%/40%. Over the next several years PDO relinquishes significant acreage while also acquiring smaller parcels. This will pave the way to the definition of the blocks bid-out to the industry at large.


Elf and SNPA drill a well operated by SOFIRAN (Iranian company) on a structure that straddles the Oman/Iran border and within an offshore concession granted on 4 December 1973. The well is the Henjam E-1 with a TD of 15,585 ft. It is the discovery well for the West Bukha/Henjam Field, Oman's first offshore field.

Late 1976

Oman produces its 1 billionth barrel of oil.


The Ministry of Oil and Minerals is created. This elevates dealings with the oil and gas industry to a Ministry-level organization.

Early 1982

Oman cumulative production reaches 2 billion barrels of oil.


The Ministry of Oil and Gas is created. This elevates dealings with the oil and gas industry to a separate and singular Ministry-level organization.

Early 2013

Oman produces its 10 billionth barrel of oil.

3 February 2014

Masirah Oil Limited (Masirah) announces that they have made an oil discovery in offshore Block 50. The discovery well drilled to a TD of 9,842 ft. in Cambrian-age rocks. They will eventually drill another well and announce in April, 2016, that a working petroleum system exists within the block.

July 2015

Oman oil production exceeds 1 million barrels per day for the first time.

Late 2015

Oman cumulative production reaches 11 billion barrels of oil.

Page created at 05/10/2016
Last updated at 11/10/2016