Oman eyes liberalisation of petroleum products sector

The Ministry of Oil and Gas is in favour of liberalising the petroleum products market over a period of time, said a top official who urged the companies to change their strategies with time. Speaking to the Observer on Monday, Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Oil and Gas, said the recently launched M98 fuel by Oman Oil is one of the stepping stones towards market liberalisation. “Even other companies are free to do so. The government will extend all its support.”
He said: “M98 pricing will be determined by supplier based on market dynamics and not by the government.
We hope they will be smart enough not to jack up the price way above M95. There is a benchmark set for the pricing of M98 in some other markets, including the UAE. The company can source the product from anywhere, including Orpic.”
Al Aufi said the fuel marketing companies should embrace future and be able to predict what the consumer wants, including charging electric vehicles, as per the market needs.
The ministry will extend all support, including with legislations, as per the need.
In the future, the ministry wants to leave pricing of petroleum products to the demand and supply in the market. “We will only monitor the compliances,” he said. The current system of pricing of products will continue till the time market is mature enough to manage itself.
Al Aufi said electric vehicles are exciting and it is about the future. “A lot a people think there will be no need for hydrocarbon with the arrival of electric vehicles. On the contrary, there will be a big demand for plastic in electric cars.”
He added, “It is better for the environment.”
On the need for a high-cost fuel amid reports of an electric car revolution, David Kalife, CEO of Oman Oil Marketing Company, said, “Our projections say by 2025, electric vehicles will represent 10-15 per cent of the total number of cars in the market, which means 85 per cent of the vehicles will still be running on conventional fuel.
“Oman Oil is studying the demand for electric cars in Oman and has found the market is still not ready for it. We will have electric charging stations as when there is a demand.”

Vinod Nair