Monday, January 25, 2010

Oman Air dodges a bullet. new oil discoveries in Oman

Welcome to another mid-week, a busy day for the news today.

Promising Oman newspaper Muscat Daily reported that we are running out of electricity generating capacity because the Government has systematically under-invested in new generating capacity while giving away what power we do generate at heavily subsidised rates of the phenomenal growth in the country's economy. Perhaps a pricing strategy re-assessment is what's called for, as well as asking the power companies to squeeze more from existing facilities? Meanwhile, expect more power cuts and brown-outs over the next few years folks.

The Majlis Al Shura also finally questioned the sanity of the Oman Government's cunning plan of importing filthy coal for the long proposed Duqm power plant. HE The Undersecretary of the MOG responded by saying that it wasn't committed to it being a coal fired plant at all. Well done chaps! Don't give up. Muscat Confidential has long rolled its eyes at this crazy scheme to get nice fat consulting payments for the boys to spend our hard earned foreign currency on dirty coal while we export LNG gas to Korea, when we should instead be forging ahead with massive solar power plants.

Oman Air dropped lemon just in time?
It seems Oman Air dodged a bullet today, as the Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 737 plane that exploded on take off in Lebanon was an ex-Oman Air rental. Oman Air leased the relatively new plane in 2008 and only got rid of it last year. Whew!

The plane involved in today's incident, a 737-8BK, was comparatively new, according to one report. Built in 2002, it went into service in June 2007 with Flyglobespan, was leased to Oman Air between May 31 2008 and May 8 2009, before being delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in September. It passed its latest maintenance test on December 25 with no technical problems.

Good news for the Oman oil business too.
Tethys Oil reported that a test on their well Farha South 3 flowed over a 1000 barrels a day of oil after they put a pump in the hole. That should be a nice little earner for cash strapped operator Consolidated Contractors Energy Development (Oman) Ltd.

I'm also told that our majority-Government-owned giant oil company Petroleum Development Oman, aka PDO, discovered a really big field called Al Ghubar South last year, although it won't be officially announced 'till HM gives the OK according to my MOG friends who confirmed the leak. According to my reliable source in PDO:
Al Ghubar South. The oil is heavy and although seen for the first time in 1964 it was then deemed immovable and almost forgotten while easier opportunities were pursued, We drilled 4 appraisal wells this year and managed to flow some oil under steam stimulation (steam in an exploration well is actually a first in Oman if not in the world). It will probably be amongst the 10 biggest fields in Oman but will take a lot of effort and money to develop (using massive steam injection to lower the oil viscosity)

Excellent news! Well done PDO.

One for the boat-spotters
Meanwhile, famously huge cruise ship The Queen Mary II due to dock late on Tuesday morning at Port Sultan Qaboos.

Photo: Queen Mary II: A really big boat.

Should be a nice spectacle. Avoid the Souk on Tuesday and Wednesday I guess is the best advice!

Omani Tourist Dies in Thailand
In breaking news, an unfortunate Omani tourist in Pattaya, a 36 year old Mr. Hamid Said Al Abri, was found dead in his hotel room, apparently no foul play was involved according to Pattaya People news. Cops are investigating and the Omani Authorities have been informed. Condolences to his family and those who knew him.

Oh, and the infamously huge scam that is the 'Oman web awards' were awarded to whoever paid some dodgy company to make up an award for them in return for cash and a slap-up dinner. Excellent.

Coming this week: More news on Blue City and the return of AAJH! Watch this space Blue City fans...


  1. Glad to see PDO 'noticed' that Oxy Oman have been using 'steam' for quite a while now....finger on the pulse boys.....

  2. UD

    Oman Air dodge a bullet every time they take to the sky.
    The same can be said for all other airlines around the world. In fact, the most recent spate of major disasters/incidents have involved a high number of legacy carriers - Air France, British Airways, America, US Airways, Delta.....scary huh?

    Juliet Papa was a fine aircraft, and while I cannot under any circumstances pre-empt a full investigation by a competent bureau, I could fully say hand on heart that from the day she arrived at Globespan and right through her time in Oman Air, through her hand-back to the Lessor and her delivery flight to Ethiopian, her maintenance and upkeep was of the highest order.

    There are countless variables that could have caused this accident. Weather, contaminated fuel, engine failures, throttle rollback, pilot error, terrorism and a host of other possibilities have been thrown into the ring by the armchair experts in the net so far.

    The truth is, we won't have a clue until the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder are recovered from the scene and analyzed.

    I have been speaking to some of the pilots who flew Juliet Papa over the years, including some of the crews from the Oman Air ACMI - and we are all quite literally stunned that this has happened.


  3. UD
    Oman's gas is committed to buyers on long term contract basis, who have invested in the LNG plant upfront, and it appears Oman doesn't have more gas for giving for power generation.
    As per media reports from PAEW new power plants are coming up in Salalah and Sohar and capacity of Ghoubrah plant will be increased.
    I believe power rates are already high in Oman compared to other GCC countries.

    Indeed coal as fuel will be selected only after detailed studies by "consultants".
    BTW Dubai Holding's rating has totally been withdrawn by S&P.

  4. OK, OK, OK. I'm watching already...

  5. Abdullah

    I do believe Mukaisna was found by PDO in the first place and they also wanted to use steam! (and of course from what I hear Oxy are as late, over budget and under-delivering as PDO too - LOL)

    You're alive!?! Thanks for dropping by, and for the info. But, really, whatsup? WTF? Email me.

    I know gas is regularly raised as an issue, but truth is Oman has plenty of gas, if the Government are prepared to pay a fair price to get it out. The GCC may give their power away at even more subsidised prices, but that's immaterial. Dirty coal is cheaper thasn LNG, but clean coal (ie gasification of coal technology) would not be cheap. If solar works anywhere it has to be here. If we move now and move big, we can create a business out of it and actually export to the rest of the region. I see the defense of the coal option is now being pushed in the media by PAEW (the ones who have failed to plan properly in the first place). And a coal fired plant in the middle of nowhere in Duqm is hardly an efficient way of meeting power demand in the Batina coast and Salalah. Its bullshit. But by failing to create other options the PAEW seem to be blackmailing the Majlis to acceding as there will be no other options... Upgrading the building code to force double glazing and insulation would be a good start. Along with not giving the gas away to smelt aluminum another...



  6. UD; The journalistic licence has to be praised on this ne...''Omani Ex-pat found face down''..if that was a UK Tabloid it would be ...''single Arab found ass up in room alone, after dissapearing for a few days''. There is more to this one and I may get you the info later as Im in Thailand now!


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