TOTAL S.A. (TOT - Free Report) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Oman to develop natural gas resources in Oman. The agreement covers both the upstream and downstream businesses of the company.
TOTAL, along with Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (RDS.A - Free Report) , will develop several natural gas discoveries located in the Greater Barik area on onshore Block 6. Shell will be the operator with 75% stake and TOTAL will have 25% interest in these natural gas discoveries. Initial gas production will be 500 million cubic feet per day, with the potential to increase to 1 billion cubic feet.
TOTAL’s involvement in the above project will increase its production from Oman, which was 37,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (Boe/d) in 2017.
TOTAL has plans to utilize its equity gas entitlement from the Oman project as feedstock to develop a regional hub for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering service to supply LNG as a fuel to marine vessels. A small-scale liquefaction plant will be built in Sohar port and TOTAL will utilize this plant to convert natural gas to LNG.
In addition, TOTAL may benefit from improving natural gas demand in Oman.
Demand for Natural Gas in Oman
A Times of Oman release indicates that demand for natural gas will increase 3% annually for the next seven years from Oman’s power projects. In addition, the consumption of natural gas is increasing in its industrial projects and Oil fields. Hence, there is increasing demand for natural gas in Oman’s domestic market.
TOTAL’s Expansion in Middle East & North Africa
Hydrocarbon deposits in the Middle East & North Africa regions make it one of the richest regions in the globe. No doubt, TOTAL has been systematically expanding its operation and production in this area. In the first quarter of 2018, oil and gas production of TOTAL from this region was 639 kilo barrel of oil equivalent per day, up 20% year over year.
The above growth rate was the largest compared with the growth rate of other regions operated by TOTAL. We expect that the agreement will help the company to further strengthen its position in this region.
Big Players in Middle East
The Middle-East region, as mentioned earlier, is one of the prolific oil and natural gas producing areas. The reserve-rich region’s comparatively lower cost of oil and gas production draws the oil and gas companies across the globe to this region. Apart from TOTAL, we find that Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) and Chevron Corporation (CVX - Free Report) are also involved in several projects in different countries of the Middle-East region.
In the past six months, TOTAL’s shares have returned 16.0% compared with the industry’s rally of 14.5%.
TOTAL has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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