Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How much crude does Oman produce? And by who?

I've had a few requests to explain the story on Oman's crude oil & gas production. How much really? Who produces it? How long have we got before it 'runs out'?

Checking with a few knowledgable sources over the amber nectar this week, I can share the following. I hope I got it right, as it all started to get pretty complicated as the nectar flowed...

Oman at the moment produces around 750,000 bbl/d, (that includes about 80,000 bbl/d condensate liquid derived from gas production):

Who produces?
No.1 is Petroleum Development Oman, aka PDO, producing ~83% of that.
No.2 producer is Occidental, with almost 14%.
No.3 is MB Petroleum, the local lads, with ~3% (mostly in 50/50 partnership with the Chinese National Oil Co).
And lastly, PTEP (I think they are a Thai company) with less than 0.4%

So, where is the extra production HE Dr. Rumhy refers to going to come from?

Well, mainly from Oxy's on-going development of the Mukhaisna heavy oil field, where they are injecting steam to boost production. They are expected to eventually increase to over 100,000 bbl/d from around 30,000 now. As a partner in the Dolphin gas project, they were probably helpful in getting that new gas importation stream from Qatar that started a few days ago, and I can't help but think there was a connection between that gas arriving and Oxy getting the rights to develop Mukhaisna from under the nose of PDO. I've heard Oxy originally promised to get to 150,000 a day, but are now lowering their forecasts and delaying the rate of ramp up too.

PDO has lots of big projects underway too, but these will be needed to offset the decline in their existing production. Instead of growing now and then declining again, PDO has been instructed to hold steady at 550,000 bbl/d for at least the next decade.

The Government, via the Ministry of Oil and Gas, have also been pretty effective at attracting a lot of new exploration companies and taking advantage of the high oil price and oil fever around the world, and they hope these efforts will lead to further production growth in a few years. But from the oil side my experts say don't hold your breath, and anything they find will tend to be small and shitty (still profitable, as oil is worth so much, but not enough to change Oman's production much).

On gas, at the moment PDO produces basically all the country's gas with about 65 million m3 a day, plus a super-tiny bit from PTEP. Just under half of that gas is liquified and exported to Korea from the 2 LNG plants at Sur. (equiv. to another 150,000 bbl/d I think).

As well as PDO and PTEP, there are British Gas, BP, RAK Gas and Tethys working on producing gas. BG is apparently having a few disappointing results from their drill testing, and sent a rig home earlier than planned recently. BP definitely have a big gas field to develop(found for the Government by PDO ages ago), and hopes are much higher that in a few years they will be able to produce a decent amount of gas and some liquids too. BP's gas price will make it tough though, and they've only just started drilling. RAK Gas and Tethys may produce a bit of gas, but nothing significant. Indian company Reliance are supposed to be looking offshore soon, and everyone says its unlikely there is anything big, but no-one really knows what's out there because they say so far there are only a couple of shallow wells ever drilled off the coast. Here's hoping.

Oh. Remember, Oman has 2 refineries that together take around 200,000 bbl/d, so not all that crude gets exported. About 60,000 a day is needed domestically, with the remaining 140,000 exported as refined products.

How Long before it runs out?
As long as oil price stays high (and by high I mean around $60) Oman will be able to produce and export over 500,000 bbl/d plus the LNG for at least the next 15 years. Probably longer. And even 25 years ahead, will still be over 300,000 bbl/d.

Hope you found that useful!

Oh, and I was told that we should expect to hear some big announcements on National Day: it seems 2 more new companies (and 1 that is already here) are being given some pretty good areas by the Government to look for more gas. . Excellent work, Dr. Rumhy.


  1. UD,

    An informative article thank you. I have often wondered "how long" myself, so that clears that up then.

    I note that the production ticker that used to be above PDO reception when I first arrived in 2002 has long since disappeared - probably from when the production really slipped around 2003/4 (I'm guessing).

    I also recall not that long ago a certain MD of PDO was quoted in print that production would be over 1,000,000 bpd again. Bet he regrets that!

    At least the steady as she goes signal looks sensible rather than the smash and grab policies of yesteryear.

    Gas (or lack of it) now seems a very big issue. Makes one wonder how the Urea factory, Aluminium smelter plants and other gas dependent plants fly. Diversificiation from O&G? Its beyond me.

    And, btw, quite why the smelter plant is so many km from the port and its own power plant (should all be on the same site for goodness sake). Now all materials are trucked in and out, and electricity is via 12km or so lines. Another mystery that defies explanation. Maybe you know different?

  2. In addition, the "15+ years" estimate is based on the capacities of actively producing oilfield sites.

    I know first-hand that there are plenty more sites that have been discovered and subsequently conserved/abandoned for the reasons of cost feasibility, or rather the lack thereof (crude was too heavy or too sour, high water content, challenging geological conditions, etc). Those resources would be tapped at the threshold of about $200/brl and above while their capacities are very promising.

    Given the upward slanting long term trend for crude prices, Oman will be ok for a few more decades.

    Of course by that time the US, Iran or China would completely annex the Sultanate, but that's a different discussion for when the nectar flows freely :)


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