Endowed with far more modest oil reserves than its neighbors in the Gulf, Oman has looked to ascend the value chain through key strategic downstream projects – the $2.1bn Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP) completed in 2018 being chief among them (MEES, 25 January 2019).

The effect of these upgrades on Oman’s products balance has been considerable. SRIP enabled Muscat to refine low-end residuals produced at the 106,000 b/d Mina al-Fahal refinery into more valuable middle and light distillates at Sohar, thereby tripling key products exports from 32,000 b/d in mid-2017 to near 100,000 b/d since (see chart 1). This in turn boosted export revenues for the financially challenged sultanate. Oil products exports brought in $2.71bn and $2.41bn in 2018 and 2019 respectively (a not insignificant 10% of total oil and gas export revenues), up from just $1bn in 2017 (MEES, 27 March). (CONTINUED - 793 WORDS)