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Oman to raise crude production.

Byline: Bloomberg

MUSCAT | Oman, the largest Arab oil producer thatEoe1/4aos not a member of Opec, aims to raise crude output to about 900,000 barrels a day by using new techniques and technology to boost the rate of recovery from its deposits.

The country will reach that level as a long-term plateau for oil production within two years, Nasser bin Khamis Al Jashmi, under-secretary in the Oil Ministry, told reporters yesterday. Oman expects to pump about 860,000 barrels of oil a day this year, up from 812,000 barrels a day last year.

Petroleum Development Oman, the largest producer in the Sultanate, is turning to enhanced oil recovery techniques, such as steam injection, to squeeze more crude out of ageing fields where production is declining, the companyEoe1/4aos Managing Director John Malcolm told reporters in Muscat yesterday.

Eoe1/4EoWe are focused on cost and efficiency,Eoe1/4A[yen] Malcolm said in an interview in Muscat yesterday. PDO has increased its budget for new projects since 2004 and will maintain spending to keep oil production at present levels, he said. He declined to give specific budget figures.

OmanEoe1/4aos oil output rose 3.7 per cent in 2008 to an average 728,000 barrels a day, its first increase in seven years, according to BP PlcEoe1/4aos Statistical Review of World Energy.

The SultanateEoe1/4aos oil production peaked in 2000 at 959,000 barrels a day, according to the BP data, which doesnEoe1/4aot yet show the 2009 tally.The country is still studying a refinery project at Duqum port, and its liquefied natural gas production is not expected to increase in the near future, Al Jashmi said.

The Omani company is injecting steam and polymers into producing oil fields to raise output. Total output may rise to about 1.2 million barrels a day of oil equivalent by 2014 when natural gas output and condensate is included, Malcolm said.

New finds

PDO made three new oil discoveries and one new gas find, Malcolm said yesterday. The Al Ghubar South discovery may have one billion barrels of oil in place and the company will carry out surveys on the deposit to determine reserves and production capacity.

The company discovered oil at the Dafiq West and Anbar fields and gas at the Khulud deposit, Malcolm said.

Gas in potentially large volumes was found at a depth of more than 5,000 metres in very tight reservoirs with low permeability and at very high temperatures.

Two new wells are currently planned in the area in 2010 to help evaluate this discovery.

Oman will offer 11 new oil and gas concession areas for exploration this year, the Oil MinistryEoe1/4aos Al Jashmi said. There are 22 oil and gas companies exploring and producing in 32 concessions in the country, Al Jashmi said.

Oil producing countries are turning to new technologies as lower engineering costs and high oil prices make some projects more affordable, such as older fields with declining output or deposits with harder-to-get reserves that have previously been too small or costly to develop.

Gulf producers are seeking to increase capacity on expectation demand will recover after the global economic slump crimped fuel consumption. Saudi Arabia, the largest Opec producer, has expanded its capacity to more than 12 million barrels a day and kept a third of that idle amid low demand.

Abu Dhabi, the largest emirate United Arab Emirates, aims to raise oil production from fields that havenEoe1/4aot been considered economically viable to maintain output at 3.5 million barrels a day from 2017. Kuwait is also boosting output from so-called marginal fields.

The Sultanate of Oman is PDOEoe1/4aos largest shareholder with a 60 per ent stake. Royal Dutch Shell owns 34 per cent, Total SA holds four per cent and Partex owns two per cent. PDO accounts for more than 70 per cent of the countryEoe1/4aos crude-oil production and nearly all of its natural-gas supply. International companies BP Plc, BG Group and Occidental Petroleum Corp. also explore for oil in Oman.

Domestic use

Oman has earmarked most of the natural gas it produces for domestic consumption and doesnEoe1/4aot expect to increase liquefied natural gas exports in the near future, Al Jashmi said.

Oman Liquefied Natural Gas is producing about eight million tonnes a year, below capacity of 11 million tonnes, because world gas supply is already ample, Chief Executive Officer Brian Buckley said on February 1.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2009

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Feb 15, 2010
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