The Sultanate’s reserves of crude oil and condensates amounted to 4.706 billion barrels at the end of 2020, which was three per cent lower than the corresponding figure of 4.84 billion barrels for 2019, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals stated in its newly published Annual Report for last year.
Natural gas reserves were estimated at 24 trillion cubic feet (TCF) at the end of last year, up from 23.8 TCF a year earlier.
In a foreword, Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhy (pictured), Minister of Energy and Minerals, acknowledged the challenges posed by the global economic slump, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, across the various domains - oil, gas, minerals, electricity, and renewable energy – that are now part of the Ministry’s expanded portfolio.
“The previous year has witnessed many challenges as the world is still suffering from the irregular circumstances caused by Covid-19 pandemic that has been affecting individuals, societies and the entire global economy until today, in addition to the continuous decline of the oil prices and its impacts over the national economy, yet it was full of accomplishments as well. We were able to reduce, as possible as we could, the impacts of the pandemic over the sector through adhering to government procedures and recommendations,” Dr Al Rumhy stated.
“We have made use of technology, different means of remote work and any other means to mitigate the impacts and be active and flexible on the long term to overcome any similar challenges in the future,” he further added.
Of the estimates of 4.706 billion barrels of crude reserves, majority state-owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) – the country’s largest producer of hydrocarbons – accounts for 68.5 per cent of the total, the report noted.
Crude production averaged 951k barrels per day (bpd) in 2020, declining 2.1 per cent from the previous year’s average of 971k bpd. “The Sultanate maintained its level of oil production in compliance with the agreement to curb output among the OPEC and non-OPEC producers in order to stabilise the international oil supply and demand,” the ministry said.
Production of crude oil and condensates at the end of 2020 totalled 348 million barrels.
Of this total, 287 million barrels were exported to nearly a dozen countries, with China lifting 86.4 per cent, followed by India (6.2 per cent). The remaining 7.4 per cent was shared by nine other importing countries.
The average price of Omani crude slumped 28 per cent to $46 per barrel last year, according to the report. It fell as low as $23.65 per barrel in June, rising to as high as $65.49 per barrel in February.
Despite the constrained economic environment, oil exploration activity continued during the course of 2020. As many as 58 exploration and appraisal wells were drilled, tested and evaluated last year. PDO accounted for 37 of these wells, followed by OQ (5), Occidental Oman (4), CCED (4), Daleel Petroleum (3) and others (5).
“The petro-physical analysis and productivity tests in some of the wells showed positive results, adding new oil reserves,” the Ministry said.
There were positive developments in the gas sector as well. Of the total reserves of 24 TCF estimated at the end of last year, PDO’s share amounted to 55 per cent, followed by BP’s Khazzan and Ghazeer fields in Block 61 (40 per cent).
Natural gas production averaged 122 million cubic metres per day (MMSCM/d) last year.
This is in addition to 5 MMSCM/d imported via the Dolphin network.