Sunday, June 1, 2008

Omans largest 2 gas fields dry - according to the MOG?

A really funny story hit the streets today, in both English and Arabic papers: There is no cooking gas in the country. Why? Well, that’s a great question, one the mostly harmless Oman Tribune at least had the balls to ask.

Cooking gas shortage hits local markets
MUSCAT Local markets have been hit by severe gas shortage. The shortage is telling upon the domestic as well as commercial consumers.

Many residents could not get an LPG cylinder when they needed one and had to depend on food from restaurants.

The situation became worse at some restaurants which incurred losses as they could not get LPG cylinder for cooking food.
Wow! That IS a problem. So, why I say, why?

(The actual answer, by the way, is that huge quantities of cooking gas are being smuggled across the border to the UAE, where it's around 8 rials a cylinder, as compared to here where it's just 3 rials (a standard economic effect of subsidy in one country, and demand in another). How one manages to slip 1000s of large steel pressurized cylinders full of highly combustible gas past Oman’s finest customs agents is a question The Tribune couldn’t be bothered to ask, naturally. But read ON!
The authorities said that there was no shortage of cooking gas in the local markets, adding that gas cylinders were available in abundance.

Interestingly, the officials at gas companies admitted to shortage of cooking gas, saying that large quantities of cooking gas were being exported to other countries at higher prices and this had resulted in domestic shortage.
So, there are lots of cylinders, according to the Authorities (empty ones, perhaps?). But wait, one underling from the MOG (not that that was very clear in the report), dared to tell it how it really is. One Mr. Saif Al Salmani, was reported as seeming to think it was, in fact, because Oman's 2 largest gas fields Yibal [mistranslated as Al Jebal] and Saih Rawl [mistranslated as Saih Roul] have run dry. LMAOFOFL. Oh my God!!!! The story continued.
On the other hand, Saif Al Salmani, general manager of petroleum industries, said that cooking gas was available in large quantities and assured the consumers that the shortage was due to Al Jabel Oil Field in Saih Roul turning dry, but the shortage was compensated by the gas produced from the refinery, he added.
Lets face it folks, if those 2 fields have run dry, Oman has got waaaaaay bigger problems than having to use charcoal for a while. That would have been a great scoop for the reporter, if he actually had a few brain cells.

‘Why, really Mr Al Salmani, the 2 largest gas fields in Oman are turning dry! What do the electricity companies who use Yibal gas to power the whole Muscat coast say? When is my air-conditioning going to stop? Oh, and what about the LNG plants that rely on the mighty Saih Rawl? And the export dollars? And the Sohar industries? What will the Majalis ask of the Minister????'

Unfortunately, its not true. The fields are full of gas, in fact, they have (and I’ll use a technical terms here I heard from one of my sources close to the operator) "shit-loads of the stuff". But what do I or they know, compared to an official from the MOG and the great journalistic talent of the Trib (come on down and collect your accolades, reporter of the year …. Mr. Said Al Nabhani)?

I’m still laughing, the report was sooooo funny. I know, its sad that unscrupulous people are flogging all our cooking gas to the UAE to make a buck, but the real stories are so obvious, and yet totally uncommented upon.:
1/ how are gas cylinders getting smuggled out?
2/ why are domestic gas supplies being subsidized?
3/ Are our 2 largest strategic gas fields really running out?
4/ What is the Government proposing to actually do about points 1-3 above?

Oman's press, you gotta love em!


  1. OMG!
    So this is the truth. My cylinder got over two days ago and gas suppliers are empty handed.
    Now even worse the restuarent from which i am eating is also at the shortage of gas.

  2. Unreal... The Ministry of Obfuscation and Gratuities at thier finest.

    I got an email from an Investment banker buddy asking about Oman's major gas Feilds running dry. Guess this is where he got the tip.


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