Due to the sultanate’s efforts to increase gas supplies in the country along with planned expansion in liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity by undertaking the de-bottlenecking exercise, Oman’s share in the global LNG trade is likely to go up in near future.

Speaking to media persons last week at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, while announcing the hosting of the International Gas Union Research Conference in Muscat next year, Professor Joe Kang, president of the International Gas Union (IGU) said, “Oman in recent times has made significant discoveries in the gas sector. And I believe it will certainly help the country’s economic development by increasing the availability of natural gas.”

“As per IGU, Oman supplies around 3 per cent LNG to global trade, which according to me is huge,” Kang said.

“The government’s step to increase gas production along with the measures taken by authorities to de-bottleneck the capacity at its LNG manufacturing plant could help the country to export more gas to the world,” he added.

Mahmoud al Balushi, Oman LNG’s chief commercial officer said, “Oman’s share in global LNG market should rise in future as the de-bottlenecking project, which is being currently undertaken in various stages, would result in around 10 per cent increase in our capacity. Which means, we will have more gas to export.”

He, however, clarified that in terms of percentage of global share, the increase may not be very significant as the consumption and demand for gas is also increasing fast globally.

De-bottlenecking exercise undertaken by Oman LNG’s three-train complex at Qalhat is likely to be completed in 2021, after which the total LNG capacity of the plant will rise to 11.4mn tonnes per annum from the current 10mn tonnes per annum.

Kang further said that the uncertainty in global energy prices is the biggest challenge ahead of them. “It is difficult to predict prices, as on one side we are experiencing rapid growth in LNG consumption in countries like China and India, and on production side there is an uptake in production from the US shale gas and the Artic region in Russia.”

“Oman is an exporter of LNG and they are worried about prices. On the other side, consumers are happy with low prices. So, we know that very low and very high prices are not good for the country,” Kang said.

He said that the investments in the gas sector are set to rise due to challenges humans are facing from climate change, and it will be an opportunity for the gas sector as many countries are trying to balance carbon emission and economic growth that could shift the focus to gas from coal.

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