Muscat: Oman’s oil production this year is targeted at around 990,000 barrels per day (bpd), said Minister of Oil and Gas, Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, adding it would be difficult to halve the economy’s dependence on oil in five years.
The target for this year is 980,000 to 990,00 bpd or slightly more than that, the minister told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza on Monday.
The event was held to honour195 Omani job-seekers, who graduated to the highest international standard to work as welders at the Rabab Harweel integrated oil and gas mega project of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO).
Oil’s role in the economy
Al Rumhy also commented on the target mentioned in the 2016 to 2020 plan to reduce the oil industry’s contribution to Oman’s gross domestic product (GDP)to 22 per cent from 44 per cent. The plan was announced recently in a statement issued by the Supreme Council for Planning.
Asked if the target is achievable, Al Rumhy said, “With difficulty.”
“We are producing more oil, we are looking for more oil, and we are contributing more. So the challenge is for others to catch up with us and maybe defeat us. Because now we are quite ahead in this race of who is paying more to the nation, and we are paying a lot, and we want others to get close to us and maybe go in front of us. But so far, I do not see anyone behind us,” he explained.
On the planned Iran-Oman gas pipeline, he said, “We are doing fine. We are progressing.”
In addition, PDO Managing Director, Raoul Restucci said the company plans to exceed last year’s production level and is targeting more than 600,000 bpd this year.
According to him, the company produced a total of 1.29 million bpd in oil and gas in 2015.
Asked about the average cost of extraction at PDO, Restucci said, “Primary is less than $5; secondary is up to $12; tertiary is $20. It depends.”
The official also noted that the company plans to drill more than 500 wells this year, adding, “Last year, we drilled more than 500.”
Commenting on PDO’s challenges and strategies in 2016, the managing director said the company’s objective is to ‘stay the course,’ continue with its programmes, make continuous business improvements, reduce waste and duplication and become more efficient.
With regards to the aquarium that PDO had planned to build at the Seeb harbour, Restucci said discussions are being held with a number of authorities about how to manage that at the moment.
“We have got the front end designs, but we are reviewing the optimum timing, obviously given the cost challenges that we face. There is also major development in the Sultan Qaboos Port. We are looking (into) how we integrate that,” he added.
Asked when the tender for the project’s construction is expected to be awarded, the PDP official said it is under review by various authorities.