Muscat: Only two grades of petrol will be made available in the Oman market as Orpic has said that M90, the currently available regular petrol will be replaced with M91, a new grade petrol with an octane value ranging between the current M90 and M95.
“M91 will replace M90,” an official from Orpic, a government-owned oil company in Oman, wrote to the Times of Oman in an email.
In March, the Times of Oman had first reported that Orpic is considering introducing a new grade of Octane petrol in the market, which will fall between regular and super at the pumps.
However, fuel station officials and the public are not yet clear on whether M91 will be an extra option or replace either one of the existing grades.
“Replacing M90 with M91 is a good option. People can have a good octane value fuel than M90. It would be convenient for us also and will not cost extra money for the oil companies,” Rajeev KR, the senior official at Siraj Al Jazeera Projects, a fuel sales company in Oman, said.
“We may need only 48 hours to make the necessary arrangements to start the sale of M91 replacing M90,” Rajeev added.
According to the fuel station official, if the government had decided to have M91 as an extra option in addition to the existing ones then it would have cost the oil companies at least OMR40,000 at every fuel station to redesign it.
“New tanks would have been needed and new fuel dispensers too with four nozzles,” Rajeev further said. Last Monday, the Ministry of Oil and Gas tweeted on its official Twitter handle that the M91 will not be available in the market now and will only be introduced in November.
Jaison Mathai, a senior official in the automobile industry in Oman, said having regular petrol with a slightly higher Octane value can keep the vehicle injectors clean.
“In addition, fuels with higher ratings are a few percentage points denser, which allows more power per litre in the vehicle,” Mathai explained, adding that engine experts are of the view that using a low octane fuel when your car requires a higher version is just as damaging and will lead to an abnormal combustion of the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder.
Renjith Mechery, an automobile mechanic in Wadi Kabir, said M91 would be good for the vehicles and the environment.
“Majority of vehicles running in Oman are from the South East Asia countries, and they don’t require M95,” the mechanic said.
A motorist, who often travels to Dubai from Muscat, said when the M91 comes, it will be a good option for them.
“M91 is available in Dubai. Now, I had no other option but to mix up the M90 in Oman with the M91 in Dubai. When M91 is made available in Oman, then the mix-up can be avoided,” Jayasankar AK, an Indian businessman, said.
Currently, Oman and Qatar only have M90 fuel.
Latest government data reveals that domestic sales of the M90 petrol surged 265 per cent to 2.82 million barrels during the first half of the current year, against 772,000 barrels last year, while M95 petrol declined by 21 per cent to 8.88 million barrels from the previous year’s 11.20 million barrels.
The surge in domestic sales also proves that following the lifting of government oil subsidies, motorists prefer regular to super to save money.
A rise in the consumption of regular fuel and the introduction of a much greener fuel in the market had also prompted petro giants to redesign their stations and storage tanks.
According to fuel sales company officials, extra tanks are being set up for regular petrol in Oman.
Last Sunday, the ministry had announced the new fuel prices for this month.
The cost of super grade petrol is 166 baisas per litre, 156 baisas for regular grade petrol and 178 baisas for diesel per litre.
In July, the cost of super grade petrol was 180 baisas per litre, 170 baisas for regular grade and 188 baisas for diesel.