Gas set to cushion impact of low oil prices

The Sultanate will commence operations in the upcoming period at the gas processing facility in Khazzan Field. The first train will be operated by this year-end with a production capacity of 500 million cubic metres of gas and the second train in early 2018.
BP Oman released a statement last year revealing 80 per cent work has been completed in first phase of the project. Remaining operations are underway for supplying the first shipment of gas by late 2017 and produce one billion cubic metres of gas daily.
BP Oman is lead partner in the project with a 60-per cent interest and Oman Oil Exploration and Production 40 per cent. Last year, both companies agreed to extend licence agreements to pave the way for developing the second phase of Khazzan gas field and increase production by 50 per cent.
The Sultanate ventured into gas production more than two decades ago. The liquefied natural gas project in Wilayat Sur, South Al Sharqiyah Governorate, is one of the most important tributaries of national economy along with other sectors such as tourism, agriculture, fisheries and service, besides the oil sector.
Today, the gas sector generates the second largest income after oil. Oman LNG contributes between 12 per cent and 15 per cent to our GDP. Oman LNG is a joint stock company in which the government owns 51 per cent and the remaining by foreign investors.
It operates three gas liquefaction trains, two owned by the company and the third by Qalhat LNG. Oman LNG has managed to fulfil its obligations to investors and customers in Japan, South Korea and Spain, and commit to safe and healthy operations of the facility and the export of required quantities.
The company is committed to strict standards to ensure the safety of workers and the environment.
It has purchased feed gas from the government as per gas supply agreements and signed other pacts for the sale and purchase of LNG on the basis of an equation linked to oil prices, increasing and decreasing according to global oil prices.
LNG sale and purchase agreements signed by the company are among the best in the sector. Omani gas prices are considered the highest in the global gas market and the project is extremely vital and effective.
Gas will provide some of the Sultanate’s needs, ensure an important source of revenue and ease the impact of collapsed oil prices, which the government mainly relies on.
Oman’s production is expected to rise in the coming years from 96 million cubic metres of gas per day, as recorded since 2015, in addition to importing extra quantities from the neighbouring countries, reflecting its great leap in this sector in the last decade.
The Sultanate’s gas production process is rapidly moving and achieving its specified goals, offering multiple services on more than one level, whether in local uses, mostly in the desalination sector, the electric power needed to extract oil and local industries, or LNG sale for companies.
This sector provides hundreds of employment opportunities for Omani youth and citizens of other countries, and supports social work through its programmes.
Today, the demand for gas markets in Asia, Latin America, South and East Africa as well as trends of stable, robust economies in Europe, China and even the United States has led many experts to point out that gas will reign over the energy sector over the next decades.

haider al lawati
haiderdawood@hotmail.com