Muscat – Bucking the global trend of declining investments in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, H E Mohammed al Rumhi, Oman’s Minister of Oil & Gas, reaffirmed the country’s commitment to continue investing in the sector.
The country’s oil production is set to average 1mn barrels per day (bpd) in 2016, a record.
Speaking at a seminar on Sunday, H E Rumhi said, “I am proud of the fact that historically Oman has never cut investments nor reduced manpower to adjust to low oil prices.”
Oman, the largest crude exporter outside OPEC, started reversing an oil output decline in 2008 by making new discoveries and using technology to improve recovery of oil, such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR) programmes, from ageing fields, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The sultanate’s production rose from 710,000 barrels a day in 2007 to 960,000 barrels a day in 2014, and in 2016, so far, production has averaged over 1mn barrels per day.
“For me, low prices are not a crisis but more of a challenge on how we can do more with less money. Even in this environment, we have managed to increase our activities. Our exploration programme is as robust as it was before. We have not slowed down or cut investments,” H E Rumhi said.
“Our crude production so far in 2016, and I am sure for the rest of the year, has been more than 1mn barrels per day for the first time in history,” the minister said, adding, “we don’t increase production until we are sure of maintaining it for five years.”
The seminar, titled ‘From Crisis to Opportunities – Oil and Gas Industry’, was organised by the Omani French Friendship Association (OFA) in collaboration with the French Embassy. France’s Ambassador to Oman, H E Roland Dubertrand, was also present along with senior officials from companies such as Orpic, Oman Oil and PDO.
Speaking at the event, H E Dubertrand said total bilateral trade between Oman and France has averaged over €600mn in the last five years and total investments by French companies in Oman stood at more than €1.2bn  “France and Oman have very ancient and cordial relations. Since 1970, France has been participating in the modernisation of Oman,” he added.