Muscat: Oman has invested $11.4 billion in developing the oil and gas sector last year.
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However, the government was able to reduce its total budgeted expenditure in the oil sector by $1.3 billion during the period, mainly due to enhanced efficiency.
Some of the reduction in expenditure was due to increased efficiency. “Companies were able to reduce expenditure,” said Salim Al Aufi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas.
Of the total expenditure, $8.2 billion was for oil sector, while the remaining $3.2 billion investment was for developing the natural gas fields.
However, capital expenditure in natural gas sector increased by $600 million last year, mainly due to BP’s investment in Khazzan field, Al Aufi added.
Salim Al Aufi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas, said that the government would follow a similar policy in cutting expenditure this year as well, but it will not affect Omani work force.
Al Aufi said that as many as 1,130 new jobs for locals were added in 2015 in oil and gas companies, which takes the total number of Omani personnel in the energy sector to 13,130.
The Omanisation ratio in oil and gas sector is around 79 per cent, which is more than the regulatory requirement.
Al Aufi said the average price of Oman Crude was $54.5 per barrel in 2015, which shows a 45.32 per cent fall from the previous year’s average price of $103.23 a barrel.
Three concession blocks – 30, 40 and 52 – were returned to the ministry of oil and gas last year. However, several concession agreements of multinational energy firms were renewed last year.
Referring to health, safety and environment, he said there was a substantial fall in lost time incident in the energy sector last year.
Stringent measures and efforts taken by the companies like warning and follow-up helped to reduce road accidents.