Investments to add value to crude

By: Hasan Kamoonpuri

MUSCAT: Looking to maximise the added value derived from its hydrocarbons reserves, Oman is investing heavily in mega downstream oil and gas projects, such as the Muscat Sohar Product Pipeline (MSPP), Sohar Refinery Improvement Programme (SIRP) and Liwa Plastics Plant (LPP).

The Sultanate’s first Oman Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition and Conference (March 16-18) at the Oman International Exhibition Centre is focusing attention on the country’s downstream petroleum sector.

Speaking on the occasion, Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, said petrochemicals are used to manufacture thousands of products people use every day.

These products include everything made of plastic, medicines and medical devices, cosmetics, furniture, appliances, TVs and radios, computers, parts used in every mode of transportation, solar power panels and wind turbines.

So it is only natural that Oman should try to develop its downstream petrochemical industry rather than just exporting crude oil.

Al Aufi pointed out that the aim of this conference is to assess the value which can be added to the economy through petrochemical industries, such as generating fresh job opportunities, more businesses and achieving the optimum use of each barrel of oil.

Al Aufi denied any injury or gas poisoning cases after an incident of losing control over an oil well driller at Harweel oilfield in Dhofar Governorate.

“The situation was brought under control after sending extra equipment and the surrounding area was not affected,” said Al Aufi, adding that no casualties were reported among the workers in the depot or near the oil well. The accident was due to high pressure inside the well.

Al Aufi added that exploration at offshore block 50 at Duqm is ongoing and no results have been achieved so far.

Musab al Mahruqi, Chief Executive Officer, Oman Oil Refining and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic), said in 2013 the manufacturing activities contributed 11 per cent to Oman’s GDP. Of this, 6.7 per cent is contributed by refining and petrochemicals industry. Al Mahruqi shed light on a number of projects which represent a major step further in maximising the added value of the Omani crude.

The Liwa Plastics Project is a steam cracker project to improve value added by processing light ends produced in Orpic’s Sohar refinery and aromatics plant as well as optimise NGLs extracted from the natural gas. This will help generate new business opportunities and employment in the Sultanate.

The land for this project is already allocated and it is on schedule for completion during 2018. It will enable Oman to produce polyethylene, the form of plastic which enjoys highest global demand.

The Muscat-Sohar Product Pipeline involves a 280-km pipeline between Muscat and Sohar for transport of refined products and will include a large storage and distribution terminal in Jifnain, north of Muscat. It will also connect directly to Muscat International Airport for delivery of jet fuel. The project is due for completion in 2016.


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