The search for hydrocarbon reserves in Ras Al Khaimah is moving ahead, with a series of exploratory wells set for July, sources said.

Novus, an oil and gas company, will start its drilling programme in the Wadi Rahba area of Ras Al Khaimah.

The drilling site is known as the Haagil Gas Prospect, company officials said. Initials studies suggest large hydrocarbon reserves may be located there, company officials said.

The existence of what company officials called "significantly sized structures around 4,600 metres underground" point to the existence of hydrocarbon reserves.

These findings are fuelling Novus' confidence in the project, company officials said.

"Earlier studies of the area had not detected or had perhaps overlooked these positive indicators," company officials said.

The Ras Al Khaimah Government, representing the RAK Gas Commission, has already signed a deal with Novus to get the project moving, government officials said.

A well will be drilled in the area indicated by the company's surveys as offering significan opportunities to strike gas and small quantities of oil, RAK Gas Commission officials said.

The Ras Al Khaimah Government is encouraging Novus to study the whole drilling area carefully, officials said.

The Government supports the exploration effort and regards it as vital to Ras Al Khaimah's future, government sources said.

Early this month, the Ras Al Khaimah Government signed an agreement with Novus to process and purchase gas from the West Bukha field.

The Haagil Gas Prospect will supply the emirate with a major portion of the gas it needs for its cement industry, government officials said.