12/08/2018 07:53 AST

The hydrocarbon sector continued to remain the major driver of economic activities in the Sultanate, despite diversification making tangible progress in the last few years, according to the Central Bank of Oman (CBO). The hydrocarbon sector accounted for 30.1 per cent of the nominal GDP in 2017, higher as compared with 27.1 per cent in 2016, due to a sharp recovery in oil prices, the apex bank said in its 2017 Annual Report released over the weekend. “International oil prices made rapid recovery since the second half of 2017, benefiting oil producing countries including Oman. The historic agreement between Opec and Non-Opec oil producers to cut production succeeded to a large extent and the global oil market moved towards rebalancing after a long time,” the report stated.

Brent oil price increased from $46.4 a barrel in June 2017 to $64.4 per barrel in December 2017 and further to $72.1 in April 2018. The average price for the Omani crude oil increased by 27.8 per cent to $51.3 per barrel in 2017 from $40.1 per barrel in 2016.

During the year 2017, the average price of the Omani crude oil ranged from its lowest level of $44.54 in January to its peak level of $55.59 in the month of December. Daily average oil production, however, declined in 2017, reflecting implementation of Opec and Non-Opec oil producers’ agreement to cut production.

Oil and gas contributed 72.9 per cent to total government revenues and 58.3 per cent to merchandise exports during 2017. The natural gas industry is becoming important in the Sultanate with its increasing demand for various purposes viz. power generation, industries and industrial projects, and oil projects, the Central Bank said.

The annual production of natural gas inched up marginally by 0.1 per cent in 2017. As domestic production fell short of demand, the natural gas was imported during the year. However, the natural gas production from Khazzan project would be able to meet the growing demand for natural gas, reducing country’s dependence on imports. Mining is also emerging as a promising sector in the Sultanate, given the availability of mineral resources in abundance. As per the preliminary data issued by the Public Authority for Mining, the mining and quarrying sector produced around 66 million tonnes of minerals during 2017, it added.

Oman Daily Observer

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