Oman's crude oil exports
will drop by about 50,000 barrels per day when new refining capacity comes onstream in the northern city of Sohar by early 2017, Minister of Oil and Gas Mohammad bin Hamad al-Rumhy said on Wednesday.
Rumhy said the refinery project had been due to be commissioned by the end of 2016, but there had been a delay so the commissioning date would be in the first quarter of next year. The project would increase the Sohar refinery's capacity by between 65 and 70 percent.
"It will take an additional 70 to 90,000 bpd. And with the increase in Oman's average oil production
to exceed a million bpd, we expect the drop in our oil exports to be 50,000 bpd compared to last year," Rumhy said in an interview.
He added that state-owned Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co (ORPIC) would seek to refine different crude mixes.
"In the future I can see ORPIC go shopping for crude oil, which is not the case currently," Rumhy said. "Refineries tend to do better when they have the option to refine different mixes of crude.
"So we will be importing different crudes to have a better yield, and to look at the needs of the local market in petroleum products."
(Reporting by Fatma Alarimi; Writing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Susan Fenton)