PDO (Petroleum Development Oman) has an even greater presence in the natural gas sector than it does in the oil sector, accounting for nearly all of Oman’s natural gas supply along with smaller contributions from Occidental Petroleum, Oman’s largest independent oil producer, and Thailand’s PTTEP. The Oman Gas Company (OGC, an 80/20% JV between the Ministry of Oil and Gas and OOC) directs the country’s natural gas transmission and distribution systems. Oman Liquefied Natural Gas (OLNG, owned by a consortium including the Omani Gov’t, Shell, and Total) operates all LNG (liquefied natural gas) activities in Oman through its three liquefaction trains in Qalhat near Sur.
As of January 2014, Oman held 30 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves, assisting in the maintenance of the country’s position as the 5th largest dry natural gas producer in the Middle East and the 26th largest producer worldwide. Oman’s natural gas sector has grown in importance over the past two decades, due in main to the opening of the country’s two LNG facilities in 2000 and 2005 respectively. Prior to these openings, Oman produced comparitively small quantities of dry natural gas, averaging just 154 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per year between 1990 and 1999 to the 1.1Tcf produced in 2013.
The opening of the Oman LNG facility in 2000 helped spur Oman’s dry natural gas production, which has grown by more than 80% between 2004 and 2013. Official figures indicate Omani gross natural gas production growing to more than 1.3Tcf in 2013, a 3% rise from the previous year. The greatest growth potential for Oman’s natural gas production is in the Khazzan-Makarem field in BP’s Block 61. The field is a tight gas formation, and BP suggests that the field holds between 15Tcf and 20Tcf of recoverable natural gas resources and up to 100Tcf of natural gas in place.
However, ahead of the Block 61 project, Oman is set to bring onstream the Abul Tabul gas field in Block 60, as well as a number of other projects, to help meet short-term national demand. In 2013, Abul Tabul increased production to 90MMcf of natural gas per day and 6,000bbl/d of condensates.