Muscat: One of the largest oil companies in Oman is considering introducing a new grade of Octane petrol in the market, which will fall between regular and super at the pumps.
“We are currently studying the possibility of introducing the M92 fuel in Oman. We see a demand for it in the market,” Hilal Al Hinai, general manager of Orpic, a government-owned oil company in Oman, said.
The M92 fuel will have the quality and price that is between the present M90 (regular) and M95 (super grade).
On Tuesday, Ahmed Al Haddabi, vice-chairman of the Shura economic panel, also confirmed that Orpic is evaluating the introduction of M92 fuel in Oman.
“Most of the vehicles in Oman require M92. However, as it’s not available, motorists go for M95 and some compromise with M90,” Orpic’s Al Hinai said.
The National Centre for Statistics and Information’s February data on fuel consumption at retail outlets in Oman showed that while 1.9 million barrels of M95 were sold, only 640,000 barrels of M90 fuel were sold.
Meanwhile, a Shura member said the introduction of M92 will bring in more money for the government.
“Having a mid-range petrol that is pricier than the regular one will bring in more money for the government,” Tawfiq Al Lawati, a Shura member, said while expecting that the fuel stations will do away with one type and keep only two.
“We doubt that at present the fuel stations have the infrastructure to provide three types of fuel,” Al Lawati added.
A fuel station official said that he had witnessed a slump in super grade petrol sales and an increase in regular grade purchases.
“At one of the stations, we used to sell 45,000 litres of super graded fuel per day. It has come down to 38,000. And in the case of regular, we used to sell only 2,000 per day earlier. It has gone up to 4,000. People don’t know much about the grade effect on engines. They go for regular only to save money,” an official from Siraj Al Jazeera, which runs fuel stations for two big oil companies in Oman, said.
Saud Salmi, a petroleum engineer at Petrol Development Oman, said there is a need for M92 in market.
“I have noticed that there is a need for M92 in the market as some vehicles require the same. As it is not available they are compelled to go for other two,” the petroleum engineer said.
Meanwhile, Jaison Mathai, a senior official in the automobile industry in Oman, said that while all fuels contain cleaning additives, those with high octane levels contain more or better detergents to keep the injectors clean.
“In addition, fuels with higher ratings are a few percentage points denser, which allows slightly more power per litre in the vehicle,” Mathai said, 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.
Citing a circular from the Ministry of Oil and Gas, an official from one of the petrol and diesel distribution companies, said in April, the revised regular petrol (M90) will cost 145 baisas per litre, super graded (M95) 158 baisas and diesel will cost 163 baisas.
In the United Arab Emirates, three types of petrol (M91, M95 and M98) are available.