The Gas Age
Dr. Amor Bin Nasser Al Matani
CEO, Oman LNG Development Foundation
From the first export of oil that left the shores of Oman in 1967, the Sultanate had, over a period of two decades, become indelibly associated with oil as the main enabler of its economy. But by the first half of the 1990s Oman, blessed with a beautiful landscape, hospitable people and a rich culture, soon reached a new watershed in its illustrious history.
Through a landmark Royal Decree issued by the late Sultan, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said in 1994, the groundwork for developing the country’s potential for gas was established to kick-start a vigorous effort geared towards commercialising the nation’s gas resources. This would earn the country a new kind of foreign revenue, supplementing the income from oil and spur far-reaching initiatives to grow the nation’s economy.
Oman LNG is a tribute to that insightful Decree by His Majesty. Since delivering its first cargo to Korea’s KOGAS in 2000, the company has remained an enduring example of how Oman continues to fashion its progress while staying true to its traditional roots.
The “game changer” has been Oman’s natural gas. From nothing, gas has become the largest single revenue generator after oil and the greatest catalyst for diversification of Oman’s economic base. Through the sale of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Asia and Europe, Oman has generated significant revenues for the country and has established a reputation as a trusted and reliable business partner with whom the world wants to do business. Natural gas has also answered the need for more efficient and clean energy within Oman and as an engine for much of Oman’s economic diversification. Oman LNG intends to continue to play a central role. On 1 September 2013, Oman LNG and Qalhat LNG integrated to form a single unit under the management of Oman LNG. Oman LNG therefore operates all three liquefaction trains at its site in Qalhat, near Sur, with a nameplate capacity of 10.4 million tons per annum (mtpa).
Described as the lead “game-changer” in the country’s economic diversification, Oman LNG has been at the forefront of the government’s effort to diversify the country’s dependence from oil revenue as the major source of income by harnessing Oman’s gas resources for export and earning income from the endeavour. At present the company, which is Oman’s foremost liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, contributes a significant percentage to the Sultanate’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through its operations that enable the production and export of LNG from its world class plant in Sur, to customer countries in the Pacific Rim and Europe.
Oman LNG has recently embarked on developing a number of strategic projects that aim at developing the output while increasing efficiency and sustainability to establish the new gas engine driven power plant at their facilities in Qalhat, Sur. The fine balancing act the company manages between sustainability and growth is reflected in the steady advancement of such major projects, including the Plant Rejuvenation Programme, the Power Project and the Debottlenecking Project, all of which come without compromise to our established reputation for reliability, high HSE performance and unflagging commitment to social and community expectations.
Indeed, the on-going power project and the new gas engine driven power plant at Oman LNG facilities in Qalhat reflect this notion. The move to introduce the gas engine power plant will conserve natural gas and reduce CO2 emissions. Gas savings accumulated through this project are aimed at producing power for Oman LNG’s facility using less natural gas by optimising gas resources and yielding less emissions.
The current energy landscape is ever challenging, requiring energy companies to adopt the most efficient practices to remain reliable and agile suppliers to customers. Oman LNG provides cleaner and efficient LNG to customers from which tangible value is reached for the Sultanate of Oman and its people through a wide swath of social investment programmes that addresses many economic and social needs, including avenues to generate In-Country Value and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development.
Exemplary Public and Private Sectors Partnership
Oman LNG Development Foundation, though still in its relative infancy, has registered an impressive catalogue of successes both at home and abroad. In particular, the tangible benefits the Foundation has brought to our stakeholders and communities across the Sultanate are an ongoing source of pride. It has grown steadily as an organisation, and rolled out ambitious national support initiatives under the wide umbrella of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The contribution of these initiatives has been well validated independently by expert partners throughout both the public and private sectors.
Much of the Foundation’s success can be attributed to an exceptional approach to CSR, by which we have redefined the way we strategically partner with public and private sector institutions so as to streamline and enhance overall objectives and benefits. Not only is this constructive for the obvious reasons, but its impact extends to the national economy, and that adds immensely to its value in the context of major development strategies. His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik has often stressed the importance of fostering a culture of community engagement and social responsibility.