Muscat: China retained its position as the leading destination for the Sultanate’s crude oil exports for the first seven months of 2017.
According to the latest statistics released by National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), China imported 132.67 million barrels of Oman Crude during the January-July period of this year, out of the country’s 171.90 million barrel exports. Although there was a 7.5 per cent fall in Chinese imports, the country constitutes 77.2 per cent of Oman’s total exports.
Of late, Chinese refineries prefer Oman Crude, which they procure mostly from the Dubai Mercantile Exchange—the region’s only crude oil trading centre.
Taiwan was the second leading importer of Oman Crude, with the country’s imports during the January-July period ruling at 14.38 million barrels, registering a growth of 20.2 per cent.
This was followed by South Korea and Japan at 6.4 million barrels and 5.98 million barrels of crude oil, respectively. India, the United States and Taiwan also imported Oman Crude this year, shows the monthly data released by NCSI.
However, the Sultanate’s total crude oil exports fell by 9.9 per cent—to 171.90 million barrels for the seven-month period ending July 2017, from 190.71 million barrels during the same period of 2016.
Oman decided to cut its daily crude oil production by 45,000 barrels (or 4.5 per cent) since January this year, in line with an agreement reached between Opec (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-Opec members to eliminate a glut in the oil market.
Opec and non-Opec members have decided to cut crude oil production by 1.8 million barrels per day since January 2017. The initial decision was implemented in January 2017 for six months and was extended up to March, 2018.
With Sohar refinery’s expanded capacity expected to start operations within a few months, exports of Oman Crude will decline further. The Sohar refinery is in the final stages of commissioning its expansion project, which will raise crude processing capacity by 82,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 198,000 bpd.
The Sultanate’s total oil production (including condensates) during the January-July period of 2017 fell by 3.8 per cent to 205.32 million barrels from 213.40 million barrels for the same period of last year. Of the total oil production, crude oil output stood 3.1 per cent lower at 186.68 million barrels in the first seven months, while the production of condensates slipped by 10.1 per cent to 18.64 million barrels.
Average daily crude oil production edged down by 3.3 per cent to 968,500 barrels in the first seven months of 2017, against 1,001,900 barrels for the same period of last year. However, the average price of Oman Crude surged ahead by 42 per cent to $51.6 per barrel in the January-July period, from $36.4 a barrels for the same period of last year. The country produced 367.56 million barrels of oil and exported 321.94 million barrels in 2016. Oman’s oil production averaged one million bpd for the first time in history in 2016.