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"Economic scene set to brighten", says Minister.

Oman's economic scene is set to brighten once the sixth five-year plan (2001-2005), which lays emphasis on the development of energy sources, is implemented, according to Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, Minister of National Economy.

He said some 13 companies, including Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), are busy exploring more oil and gas in the country in the wake of some new substantial energy discoveries.

PDO has set a daily production target of 850,000 barrels for 2001. Proven oil reserves totaled 5.7 billion barrels by end 1999.

The new plan aims to boost capital expenditure for the oil sector to 990 million riyals against 837 million riyals in the previous one, while 66 million riyals has been set aside for gas exploration against 63 million riyals to increase gas reserves by an additional five billion cubic metres.

Meanwhile, Oman's gross domestic product (GDP) is ahead of ten other Arab countries, including the other five GCC states, according to the Oman News Agency (ONA).

Quoting Arab League's Arab Fund for Economic and Social Growth, Arab Monetary Fund and the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), ONA said, the GDP of Arab states in 1999 was $62.18 trillion, up 5.8 per cent from 1998, largely because of the increase in oil income and active participation of the industrial sector.
(Source : Gulf News - 21st February, 2001)



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Oman is aiming to strike $1 billion worth of production sharing deals with foreign oil firms in 2001in a bid to kick-start a major oil exploration drive to boost output, industry sources said.

The Gulf Arab State, pumping about 900,000 bpd will need assistance from foreign oil companies to achieve its production target of one million bpd by 2004, an industry source told Reuters.

The oil ministry has estimated about $1 billion will be needed to develop new oilfields next year to replace old ones.

Non-Opec Oman already has spent just under $198 million on new oil fields last year - three of which are yielding 62,000 bpd.

"There are more oilfields that the ministry has already targeted to be explored in 2001 to increase production and that's where foreign firms will have a role to play", sources said.

The oil ministry will use production sharing agreements to share the financial costs of drilling deep wells that required expensive new technologies, the industry source added.

"In the long run, technologies like sub-surface imaging and multi-lateral drilling will bring production costs down", he said. "That means more returns per barrel of crude".

A foreign oil company official told Reuters the ministry would make a positive move if it decided to sign exploration agreements with international oil firms.
"I understand that Oman will step up its exploration programmes in 2001 and a few agreements are expected to be signed with foreign companies", he said.

He said that the government might also decide to re-explore existing fields to re-evaluate
production. "If the government wants to export more oil in a few years then it would have to re-evaluate the existing fields to achieve maximum production", he added.

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), in which the government holds 60 percent, Royal Dutch/Shell 34 percent, Totalfina Elf four percent and Partex two percent, produced an average of 890,000 bpd in the period upto September this year.
(Source : Reuters - 10th January, 2001)


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