Oman's potential oil reserves are estimated at 50 billion barrels, of which 5 billion barrels are ready for production, according to H E Nasser al Jashmi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas.
In an interview to a local publication, reported by ONA, H E Jashmi said that oil production over the past few years amounted to 7bn-8bn barrels. He added that exploration programs are progressing well and production technology is being upgraded.
He ruled out concerns with UK oil major BP and denied any dispute over the company's investment in the gas sector.
"The company is extracting gas and selling it to the Oman government and negotiations are ongoing regarding pricing. A preliminary agreement has been signed with the company and negotiations are progressing on the final draft," said H E Jashmi.
About other aspects of oil production, H E Jashmi said the Duqm refinery is in the stage of evaluation and design. "The capacity of the refinery will be about 230,000 barrels a day and it will cater to the local needs for oil products. The project will also spawn petrochemical plants, which will operate alongside the refinery to maximize revenue and support the national economy. It is also designed to receive oil from abroad and is expected to start operations in 2017."
On the Sohar refinery, H E Jashmi pointed out that its slowdown was due to changes in the characteristics of Omani oil, which hurt its efficiency. "The refinery was designed to deal with specific types of oil, but due to its handling of heavy crude and the increase in production at the Mukhaizna oilfield, the refinery's efficiency was affected, although it did not stop production altogether."