OMR4.4 billion investment in 2018 will create jobs for expats and Omanis
November 14, 2017 | 9:33 PM
by A E JAMES/[email protected]
New investments can boost economy, help kick-start construction projects. Photo - Shutterstock

Muscat: A “trickle-down” effect of the planned OMR4.4 billion investment in oil and gas next year should mean new construction industry jobs for both expats and Omanis, experts believe.

Oman’s government plans to invest a whopping OMR4.4 billion in various upstream and downstream oil and gas projects next year, Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, has revealed.

“There wouldn’t be any slowdown in investment in energy sector (despite a cut in crude oil production). Our (investment) programmes will continue as planned even next year.

“It could be more, since we just signed four oil exploration agreements today. I am sure that these companies are eager to start work,” the minister added, speaking on the sidelines of a signing ceremony to award exploration licences to develop four new blocks.

He said that investment in the oil and gas sector also includes a major downstream project – Duqm Refinery.

The total investment for Duqm Refinery is estimated at $6 billion, “But we don’t invest all the money next year,” he added, citing foreign investment partners.

Experts believe that this can boost Oman’s economy and help kick-start construction projects, leading to more jobs for expats.

“This is good news. The money will be used in upstream and downstream sectors so it can stimulate other sectors such as construction. However, the thing to note here is that we must make sure there is the right use of technology while investing this money.

“If you can invest this money and use technology and cost efficient practices to do your projects, I think it can give rise to new

verticals. This money being pumped into the economy is good news for business next year,” Madhu G.N., VP of Strategy at Al Siraj Holding.

Imtiaz Sikder, financial advisor, said: “This will be excellent for all the sectors in Oman. We need to wait and see how these funds are distributed.”

“I believe most of them would be in downstream sector like refineries. Wherever it is, it is certain to create jobs.”

A top official of construction company, Mohammad Kabir Ahmed, managing director of United Dreams LLC, said: “We would like to see its effect on the construction industry. Both upstream and downstream projects require construction. The sector can get back to life if the trickle-down effect is felt by construction companies.”

Referring to the proposed plan for extending oil production cuts to eliminate a glut in the market, the minister said; “There is almost a consensus to extend the agreement until the end of 2018. So, we will continue with the same production level until next year-end.”

Oman has been cutting daily production by 45,000 barrels a day, which is in line with an agreement between the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and non-Opec members to slash production levels by a total of 1.8 million barrels per day.

Vienna meeting

The Opec and other non-Opec producers will meet on November 30 in Vienna to decide on oil output policy.

The Sultanate’s crude oil output stood at 235.33 million barrels in the first eight months of 2017, against 244.79 million barrels in the same period last year.

The country’s total exports declined by 9 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the first seven months of this year, to 197.08 million barrels from 216.46 million barrels

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