Interview: Musab Al Mahruqi
How will the integration of Oman Oil and Orpic Group into OQ redefine your strategy?
MUSAB AL MAHRUQI: Based on the group’s current business profile and our existing commitments moving forward, we remain committed to growth, and have plans for investment of around $28bn over the course of the next decade. This evolution will be driven by fundamental changes in both the composition and scale of the group’s businesses.
Upstream production, including both operated concessions and joint ventures, is set to rise. With the completion of several major projects, our refining, commodity petrochemicals and specialty petrochemicals businesses will also experience significant growth. In addition, the group aims to tap into new business lines including retail, alternative energy and natural gas management.
In which ways has the drive to localise different services and processes been successful?
AL MAHRUQI: Through the support of the Ministry of Oil and Gas (MoG) and stronger collaboration among all oil and gas companies, a new mindset has formed regarding the localisation of the industry. Since its initiation in 2012 this localisation movement has been driven by the in-country value (ICV) scheme, which has created a competitive environment among operators to create SME development programmes and new ventures, increase local sourcing and develop the skills of the local workforce. The MoG, Oman Society for Petroleum Services and other oil and gas companies have all been proactive in creating more ICV opportunities by providing guidance, governance and raising opportunities within the industry, thus minimising risk to both the operators and the private sector.
In 2019 ICV has reached a very mature stage in terms of implementation and value creation, and is continuing to be assessed by the amount of spending retained in country. This spending benefits the development of local workforce capabilities, local sourcing of goods and services, and stimulation of overall economic productivity.
What initiatives are set to upgrade existing gas facilities, and how are new technologies helping increase exploration and field production?
AL MAHRUQI: There is growing focus on the local gas business in terms of both processing gas and improving the overall gas transmission system. We are working closely with the Omani government to change the current model of the nationwide gas-processing philosophy. There needs to be a shift from the usage of individual scattered processing plants to the use of more gas processing centres, which will ultimately help monetise the number of stranded gas discoveries in the country. Through close partnerships with a number of major local and international oil and gas companies, the successful exploration of new blocks and de-risking of new hydrocarbons developments throughout the country must continue to be promoted.
Technological advancement in the exploration and production domain has helped to unlock a number of opportunities. These developments have subsequently attracted the attention of major oil players, who are re-entering a number of oil blocks. This is leading to an increase in the number of significant discoveries, particularly in terms of gas.
New technologies in seismic acquisition and processing have also helped identify more prospective blocks and have boosted the investment in exploration activities in recent years.
Lastly, the ongoing evolution of tight gas fracking practices has significantly improved the productivity of a number of difficult exploration prospects and has successfully increased the attractiveness of such opportunities in the sector moving forward.
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