Oman LNG documentary – From Strength to Strength – Part Four

Fueling the future. As Oman's middle class grows the demand for gas and electricity will only increase

January 28, 2016

In the final part of our documentary with Oman LNG we travel back to Muscat and the Ministry of Oil and Gas, where we learn about the growing demand for gas and electricity.

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World Finance: Oman LNG’s social investments in Sur have had a clear impact on improving the quality of life for local people. From constructing a walkway over one of the main – and very busy – roads in the city, to building a promenade along the Albarr beach, to vocational training for residents in Qalhat village: the oldest village in Sur, and a close neighbour of the Oman LNG gas plant.

Qalhat village is the closest village to Oman LNG, situated around five kilometres west of the gas plant. And it’s developed considerably since 2000, with the company supplying a desalination plant, and also distribution systems to the households.

Over the years, Oman’s corporates have realised that backing social causes, small business initiatives, and NGOs, does not make them stand out. Companies like Oman LNG want to showcase a more active role in society: such as by creating jobs.

This has led to initiatives such as this: teaching Qalhat village women a trade.

This programme teaches women tailoring, providing a vital income for families, and supplying rent for housing so that women, once trained, can start their own businesses.

Oman LNG has also built and supplied equipment for a local kindergarten, offering a start in education to local children up to the age of five.

Social investment really is one of the ways the company contributes to Oman’s national development. Even before the company liquefied its first volumes of natural gas in 2000, it invested OMR20m to help establish Sur General Hospital.

Dr Mohammad Ibrahim Alfarsi, Executive Director, Sur General Hospital: We are proud of Oman LNG for supporting this hospital from the beginning.

Oman LNG donated a lot of equipment, like a CT scan, another CCU, and BICU. This is of great benefit to the community. And this has serviced all of the patients – not certain types of people, but all of the patients get the benefits. And in the future we will continue our co-operation between Oman LNG and Sur Hospital for better health services to our community.

World Finance: LNG is a growing energy market; and with more and more consumers turning to non-oil based energy sources, it’s likely to sustain itself as a forerunner in energy development for years to come.

Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, Oman: We are facing challenges. Now, everybody wants gas in the country. The local entrepreneurs want gas. I want gas so that I can export more: I think it’s good business for creating wealth for the country. Heavy industry that we need in the country wants gas.

The standard of living in the country, I think, is growing: everybody wants to build homes, everybody wants to live comfortably. And all that requires energy – which is electricity here – and water: that requires gas. So gas demand is a major challenge in this Ministry, in the government. How can we meet the ever-growing opportunities in LNG business, while at the same time meeting the local requirement of gas?

So, we are doing our bit. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to find more gas, both off-shore and on-shore. More exploration, to revisit our old fields, to see if we can produce more gas so these requirements are met and balanced. Including the future of Oman LNG.

The life of Oman LNG was assigned to be 25 years. We are almost 15 years into that, so we have 10 more years. But I think in the next 10 years a lot of opportunities exist in finding more gas, and keeping the industry going.

These are exciting times for the gas industry. So I think Oman will continue to play its little, important role in the world. To add a little bit more, a few more drops, of that requirement.

Oman LNG is small, in terms of number of people. Its setup is smallish. But it has created huge wealth as a source of income, of foreign earnings. So all in all, it’s a major contributor of economic growth.

World Finance: In the near future, it’s unlikely that Oman will challenge the likes of neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the UAE in terms of oil and gas output. But the contribution that Oman LNG can make to the region is not to be ignored: both in growing Oman’s wealth, and improving its quality of life.