Oman eyes oil output boost for 2nd year
Muscat, February 9, 2009
Oman aims to boost total oil output for the second consecutive year in 2009 after halting a six-year production decline from ageing fields last year, a top official said on Monday.
While neighbouring members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cut output as the group races to match supply with falling global demand, Oman is moving ahead with plans to pump more. As an independent producer, Oman has said it has no plans to cut output in support of Opec.
The country aims for total crude and oil condensate output of 805,000 bpd in 2009, up from 757,000 in 2008, Nasser Al-Jashmi, the state undersecretary for oil and gas, told Reuters at a press conference hosted by state-controlled Petroleum Development Oman.
Total oil output in 2008 rose 47,000 bpd from 2007, Al Jashmi said. That was the first year of growth since peaking in 2001 at 956,000 bpd, official data showed.
News of Oman's rising output and Saudi Arabia's move to maintain steady oil supplies to major Asian buyers in March, drove global benchmark US crude prices down 25 cents to $39.92 a barrel.
The sultanate is a small independent producer but its crude oil forms part of the benchmark price for around 12 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude exports from Middle East producers to Asia.
As part of efforts to boost output, it plans to award five exploration licences to international oil firms this year, Al Jashmi said.
Oman has spent heavily on new technology to enhance oil output from its old, depleted fields.
PDO, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell, raised crude output in 2008 for the first time in eight years, PDO said on Monday.
Oman's largest producer boosted crude production 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) on the year in 2008 to 566,000 bpd, it said. PDO's crude output peaked at 840,000 bpd in 2000.
Target crude output for 2009 was unchanged at 540,000 bpd to 560,000 bpd, PDO said. The Omani producer is 34 percent owned by Shell.
Including oil condensates, PDO's output stood at 633,000 bpd in 2008, up from 607,000 bpd in 2007, it said. - Reuters