​We have oil to last for 15 years, says Ministry Undersecretary in Oman
March 2, 2017 | 11:09 AM
by Times News Service

Muscat: Oman has enough oil reserves to last for the next 15 years, according to the Undersecretary for the Ministry of Oil and Gas, HE Salem Nasser Al Aufi.

Al Aufi also stressed the necessity to unite the Sultanate’s energy regulation bodies, as there currently exists more than one government entity supervising energy consumption and production.

These include the Ministry of Oil and Gas, Public Authority for Electricity and Water and the Authority for Electricity Regulation, among others.

"Thinking about alternative energy is inevitable, especially during the technological era that the world is living in,” added Al Aufi. “Alternative energy could complement oil in supporting the Sultanate's development at different levels."

Al Aufi also pointed out that the strategic oil reserve of the Sultanate was constantly increasing, with the current reserve standing at 15 years, the equivalent to producing one million barrels per day.

"Currently we produce about 970 thousand barrels a day after committing to the OPEC agreement of decreasing production,” explained Al Aufi. “There are also new commitments from the OPEC states with the expectation that demand for oil will go down, around 300 million barrels until the end of the year, where we will reach a point of balance between supply and demand, hence, oil prices will rise."

The Undersecretary also shed light on Oman’s natural gas production, which is slated to begin in August this year.

"There are plans to begin the first phase of gas productions in August from 500 million cubic meters followed by the second phase by the end of the year or beginning of next year," he said.

He added that the third phase of gas production was expected to commence in 2020. This expansion is expected to provide the required amount of energy for the Sultanate’s diversification plans, including the Duqm Special Economic Zone, with a gas connection scheduled to be set up at the end of 2019.

Al Aufi added that negotiations between Oman and Iran regarding the import of gas into the Sultanate were still ongoing, with talks currently centred on the technical details of the agreement, before touching on the need to raise the rate of Omanisation in the oil and gas sector.

“The vocational training of Omanis and efforts to add to their qualifications in this sector is continuing as normal,” he revealed. “There is about 75 to 78 percent Omanization in the sector.

The undersecretary also quashed rumours about job cuts in the sector due to falling oil prices. "The case of released employees is exaggerated,” countered Al Aufi. “Last year the ministry worked in restoring 3,700 employees in the sector."

"Releasing the employees in the sector is directly linked to the duration of contract of the project," he added.

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