Oman Oil Company SAOC (OOC), the energy investment arm of the Omani government, is exploring potential partnerships with local and international investors in the development of power and renewable energy schemes in the Sultanate.
Isam al Zadjali (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of the wholly government owned enterprise, said the Company is currently in discussion with the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), a sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman, as a potential partner in such energy ventures. “We are talking to SGRF to see if we can join forces to invest in the country, be it in power or renewables. Our task is to figure out who is best in solar, wind, bio — you name it — anything out there, we will explore on the basis that we can attract industry leaders to come to Oman and set up shop here,” he noted.
Speaking at the annual media briefing hosted by the Ministry of Oil & Gas, Al Zadjali said the Company is eager to build on its investments in the power sector, which includes the Musandam Power Plant in partnership with LG International, and a couple of assets in South Korea and Pakistan.
“We feel the playing field for power and renewables infrastructure is big enough for everyone to participate and deliver projects that are good for the country,” the CEO said.
Commenting on developments in the midstream segment of the restructured Oman Oil Group’s business, Al Zadjali said that a major rebranding of Oman Gas Company (OGC), which heads the Energy Infrastructure Vertical of Oman Oil Co, is in the offing. As part of the rebrand, OGC — which is the principal transporter of natural gas across the country will also acquire a new mandate.
Of late, Oman Oil Company has also decided to move away from its long-held precondition to be a majority shareholder in any partnership with a local or international investor, said the CEO. The goal, he said, is to attract reputable players that would add value through their investments in the Sultanate, create jobs for nationals, and support In-Country-Value (ICV) development.
Evidence of this change in policy is seen in the upstream segment of the company’s business, he explained. “Initially, we wanted to become an operator in a block. But when you look around, you see there are many great operators, like Shell, Oxy, and more recently ENI. We want to complement their efforts. We want to bring in more operators into the country so that oil and gas can be produced more efficiently. If it requires a minority shareholding in the process, then we are all for it. We don’t want to be 100 per cent shareholders. As of last year, we are open to taking a minority interest in order to attract international oil companies (IOCs) to come here.”
Furthermore, the Company is eager to work closely with the Ministry of Oil & Gas to achieve its new vision as a restructured entity. “We feel we could be the catalyst that can attract foreign investment into the country. We are very well positioned to do that,” he stated.