The Oil & Gas Year Oman 2011
Amidst the world’s most prolific hydrocarbons region, the Sultanate of Oman stands out not for its volume of resources but for its skilful application of brains and technology. Oman does not share the same oil wealth as its resource-rich Persian Gulf neighbours, but its ability to stem gradual production losses at maturing fields is testament to the country’s forward-thinking vision. The oil industry has overcome Oman’s challenging geography and achieved sweeping exploration of the entire territory – resulting in the discovery of approximately 200 oil and gas fields, the most in the Gulf. Falling output from flagship fields resulted in a production peak of 956,000 bpd in 2001, but the government’s effective cooperation with foreign oil firms and the sultanate’s open investment policies have ushered a period of renewal. The industry has placed advanced recovery methods at the forefront of its efforts and executed some of the Middle East’s highest-profile enhanced oil recovery projects. In 2010, Oman reached a nine-year production high of 864,000 bpd. While oil has formed the basis of economic growth, natural gas has emerged in recent years as a key driver of nascent industries. Oman once exported gas to Abu Dhabi by pipeline, and in recent years that flow has been reversed with the advent of three LNG trains, an aluminium smelter and two power plants. British operator BP is currently undertaking the biggest gas project in the country’s history, an operation that could single-handedly transform Oman’s middling gas profile. For more on Oman’s drive to improve oil recovery and expand gas reserves, read The Oil & Gas Year, Oman 2011.