Sales at petrol pumps in Oman slowing in 2016

Business Sunday 24/July/2016 20:56 PM
By: Times News Service
Sales at petrol pumps in Oman slowing in 2016

Muscat: Growth in demand at petrol pumps in Oman has slowed in the first four months of this year following the government’s decision to unfreeze prices.
Demand for petrol (gasoline) edged up only by one per cent in the first four months of 2016, compared to the same period last year.
In contrast, demand for diesel (gas oil) showed a four per cent fall during the four-month period, according to a top-level official at Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic).
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However, in the last 10 years, the total annual growth rate for petrol averaged at 9.6 per cent, with the growth in demand for diesel at an average of 9.1 per cent, said Musab Al Mahruqi, chief executive officer of Orpic. Up until 2016, fuel costs had remained constant for more than two decades in Oman, but now a new pump price is announced at the end of each month, linked to whether the value of oil has risen or fallen.
“Between 2006 and 2015, the contribution of Regular (RON 90) Gasoline grade in the total Gasoline consumption declined consistently due to consumers’ preference towards Super Gasoline,” Orpic’s CEO told Times of Oman.
The state-owned Orpic recently marked five years of formal integration of its four plants -Sohar Refinery, Mina Al Fahal Refinery, Aromatics Plant and Polypropylene Plant - into one integrated refinery and petrochemical company in June 2011.
Subsequent to the Government Committee price change from January 15, 2016, there was a shift in demand for different grades between January and April 2016.
“Regular Gasoline trends were influenced by the delta in fuel pump prices between the two gasoline grades, especially after government announcement of implementing international prices across filling stations. An immediate increase in Regular Gasoline was observed during the first month where we have seen an increase in demand by 151 per cent compared to last year,” he said, adding,“The increase mainly came from private vehicle owners and taxi drivers who are attempting to be more economical.”
Three months later, an average 320 per cent demand growth was witnessed compared to the same period of last year.
As a result of substituting Super Gasoline by Regular, the demand for Super declined slightly by approximately 6,700 cubic metres in January 2016, which was equivalent to 2 per cent compared to the same period last year. Similarly in February, March and April, it reduced by 25 per cent, 15 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively as compared to the same period in 2015.
Overall, the Gasoline demand looks steady with narrow range in variation compared to same months of the previous year. It was approximately one per cent increase in year-to-date compared to last year.
Diesel consumption reached 233,500 barrels in January 2016, which shows a decline of 5 per cent compared to the same month of last year. Nevertheless, the demand dropped by 5 per cent, 7 per cent and 9 per cent in February, March and April 2016, respectively. “The year-to-date gas oil demand drop was 4 per cent till April 2016.”
MOGAS 91 launch
MOGAS 91 grade will be available at fuel stations from August 1. Orpic and all other market players are taking necessary steps to ensure that the new grade will be available by then.
Referring to the production of different grades of petrol at Orpic refineries, Al Mahruqi said that all grades of gasoline are produced in refineries by blending various components. The difference is only in one parameter - to adjust the properties to best fit for the design of the engine.
“The demand has shifted to regular means that more of this grade is produced,” he noted. Orpic produces all grades of gasoline with same carefulness, specification and dedication.
The Orpic chief also noted that it is the responsibility of motorists to check their vehicle user manual and make the right fuel choice.
Grade change
“According to a study performed on the Omani passenger fleet, approximately 85 per cent of the cars can use Gasoline with 91 Research Octane Number (RON). Hence the government has decided to change the Regular grade to RON 91 and rename the grade to MOGAS 91 effective from August 1, 2016. This will provide an economic choice to motorists to use the right grade as well as save money.”