Omani oil exports drop as LNG production rises

Jun 20, 2004 02:00 AM

Oman's crude oil exports dropped 7.6 % in the first four months of 2004 to 86.9 mm barrels from 94.1 mm barrels a year earlier, according to official figures. The national economy ministry also said production of crude oil and condensates in the sultanate, which has been battling to halt a drop in production, was 95.5 mm barrels, down from 100.4 mm a year ago.
Average daily production in the first four months was down 6.1 %, dropping from 836,800 barrels to 785,500 barrels, according to the figures. The average price of Omani oil, however, rose 8 % to $ 30.78 a barrel in April from $ 28.51 a year earlier.

China topped the list of importers, followed by South Korea and Thailand. Domestic demand for gas, meanwhile, is expected to double by 2010 as the country speeds up a diversification drive to reduce dependence on oil income.
"Planned industrial projects and the power generation to fuel them are expected to increase domestic gas requirement by nearly 100 % seven years from now," an official of the state-run Oman Gas Co. (OGC) told.

The sultanate would need to pump around 26 mm cm (918 mm cf) of natural gas per day by 2010 from a current daily production of 13.5 mm cm (477 mm cf), the official said.
"Gas demand has increased by 50 % in the past five years, with power plants consuming about 80 % of current production," another official of the oil and gas ministry also said. "Industrial projects consume just 11 %, but the rapid economic reforms which are taking place at the moment will see more gas being consumed by the manufacturing sector," the official added.

Thai energy giant PTT, which in 2002 was awarded a three-year oil and gas exploration concession, is planning to produce up to 60 mm cf (1.7 mm cm) per day of natural gas in the north-western Sham field.
Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), an exploration and production company, has also awarded India's Punj Llloyd a $ 56 mm contract to build a 260 km (161-mile) pipeline from central Oman to the eastern town of Sur with Oman's Hassan Engineering. The pipeline is to feed the Sur-based Oman LNG as part of a plan to boost capacity by 50 % to nearly 10 mm tons per day from early 2006.

PDO announced in August 2003 it will invest around $ 2 bn in a massive expansion of its gas production operation over the next five years. Oman LNG is currently producing 6.6 mm tons of LNG per year from two trains. Oman's total LNG production increased by 10.6 % by the end of April 2004 to 247.5 bn cf (7 bn cm) from 223.8 bn cf (6.3 bn cm) a year earlier.
The government owns 51 % of Oman LNG, the Anglo-Dutch giant Shell holds 30 %, France's Total 5.54 %, Korea LNG 5 %, Partex of Portugal 2 % and Japan's Mitsui, Mitsubishi and Itochu the rest.
"We have no doubt that the future of our gas production is bright since we continuously discover new resources for our expansions plans," the OGC official said.

Oman, a small non-OPEC oil producer, remains heavily dependent on oil revenues, which account for around 80 % of the country's export earnings and 40 % of GDP.
According to the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the latest available figures show Oman has proven gas reserves of around 859 bn cm (30.3 tcf).

Source: Agence France Presse
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