Oman’s state firm OQ is in discussions with India’s Bharat Petroleum over a potential divestment of its 36.6% stake in their Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd (BORL) joint venture, according to a 15 December report from Oman’s state news agency ONA. BORL operates a 7.8mn t/y (156,000 b/d) refinery at Bina in India’s central state of Madhya Pradesh. Reports emerged in September that OQ was looking to exit BORL, after rating agency Fitch issued its first credit rating for OQ. Fitch gave OQ a BB- rating, three notches below investment grade, because Muscat government finances are stretched and OQ was judged to have too much downstream exposure. As ratings are normally requested by the rated entity, the implication is OQ is considering raising external finance (MEES, 2 October).

OQ was created in December 2019 by a merger of state upstream firm OOC and refiner Orpic. OOC’s upstream output was 40,000 b/d of oil and 450mn cfd of gas at the time of the merger, while Orpic’s assets included 303,000 b/d of refining capacity and 4.3mn t/y of assorted petrochemicals (MEES, 23 November 2018). (CONTINUED - 184 WORDS)