According to the ministry, Canada’s Ivanhoe Energy and the US’ Syntroleum Corporationhave completed studies on the feasibility of locating such a plant on the sultanate’s northern coast. The proposed plant is expected to use 4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of feedstock gas.

The proposed plant could utilise either Omani gas or imports. However, according to the ministry gas reserves stand at 30 tcf, which is just enough to meet the sultanate’s existing domestic requirements and export commitments. Any future demand will have to be met by either new discoveries or imports. The government has set a target of discovering an additional 1 tcf a year for the next 20 years, with exploration set to ease off at between 40-50 tcf. By 2010, daily gas demand is expected to peak at 84 million cubic metres a day (cm/d), up from about 40 million cm/d at present (MEED, Oil & Gas Special Report, 28:11:03, pages 44-46).

In response to a question from MEED on the possible source of feedstock for the proposed GTL plant, Al-Hinai said imports from Abu Dhabi-based Dolphin Energy (DEL)could replace indigenous supply. ‘If we do not have enough gas then Dolphin is coming up soon. GTL could be the first candidate for gas supplies from Qatar,’ said Al-Hinai.

Gas from the DEL network could be supplied to Oman through the recently activated Mahdah-Al-Ain pipeline, which links the sultanate’s gas system with the UAE. Muscat has agreed to supply DEL with 135 million cubic feet a day of gas via the pipeline until supplies of Qatari gas come on stream in 2008. The first supplies of Omani gas were delivered to Al-Ain in January (MEED 30:1:04).