Muscat: Visitors to the world-class Oman Museum can now witness first-hand the stepping stones that made Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) an integral and vital cog in the Sultanate’s economy. PDO is donating artifacts from its history to the new museum exhibit, titled ‘Oman Museum: Across Ages’ (OMAA), which is expected to be the largest in the Gulf region.
From the wellhead from Oman’s first oil-producing well from the Fahud field in the north of its concession area, to copies of the invoice recording the first export of Omani oil in 1967 and a signed letter of appreciation and thanks from His Highness Sultan Sayyid Said bin Taimur Al Said to PDO staff congratulating them on the achievement, the new exhibit is chock-full of exhibits that take visitors down memory lane.
PDO is also providing old photos of its people, operations and exploration efforts, geology books, and samples of fossils, rocks and oil.
The purpose of the museum, which is currently being built in Wilayat of Manah, Al Dakhliyah Governorate, is to tell Oman’s story, all the way from pre-historic times to the present day. Specific focus is also being provided to the period from 1970 onwards, when His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said ascended the throne.
“The Oman Museum: Across Ages project is a great national project,” said Hamood Al Mahrooqi, Head of Royal Estates Affairs. “The preliminary works have been completed and the construction works, such as concrete and steel structures, have started. It is expected to be the largest museum in the Gulf.”
“We thank PDO and other government and private sectors for their support for this outstanding national project,” he added.
This is one of a number of highlights of a landmark year for PDO, which sees it celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first export of oil and the 80th year since its inception.
“I’m delighted that PDO’s history in serving this great nation will be showcased in the splendid new museum and that we were able to announce the donation of these important artefacts and objects in our double anniversary year,” added Abdul Amir Al Ajmi. “These items encapsulate an important part of our journey from humble beginnings to the modern, pioneering and globally respected company you see today.”
The wellhead comes from the Fahud-2 well, which first confirmed the presence of commercial oil in the field in 1964. The well produced up to 12,500 barrels of oil per day until it was finally shut in 1983, and the wellhead has been exhibited at PDO’s Knowledge World building since 2005.
The invoice on display records the first export of Omani crude oil on July, 27, 1967 delivered by the tanker Mosprince from Mina Al Fahal to Japan. The cargo of 543,800 barrels (at $1.42 a barrel) was valued at $750,000, or $5.5 million today.
To mark the occasion, His Majesty’s father sent a type-written message of appreciation and thanks to PDO staff, which will also be exhibited in the OMAA. An excerpt from this stated: “The successful completion of all this work within the time schedule planned by the company reflects great credit on all who have worked hard and loyally.”
“We are thus on the threshold of a new phase in our country’s history and we wish you therefore to continue your good work which by its nature is the foundation upon which the future progress of our country and our people will depend.”
The donation of these exhibits was marked in a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Hamood Al Mahrooqi and Abdul-Amir Al Ajmi.