Oman could complete a merger of its two liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters by the end of 2013, according to Harib al-Kitani, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Oman LNG.

Oman LNG is already the operator of the younger company Qalhat LNG, but a merger will align the ownership of the two firms, which are both based in Sur on the sultanate’s central coast.

“The government and shareholders have appointed a consultant. It will present work to the shareholders of the two companies who will make a decision on how to roll it out,” said Al-Kitani at a press conference in Muscat.

The consultant is expected to complete the report by the end of March, with a deal likely by the end of the year, Al-Kitani added.

Oman LNG is 51 per cent majority owned by the government, with minority stakes held by UK-Dutch Shell, France’s Total, Portugal’s Partex, Korea LNG and three Japanese companies. The company started two LNG trains in 1999, each with a capacity of 3.3 million tonnes a year (t/y).

Oman LNG also has a 37 per cent stake in Qalhat LNG, which was formed in 2002 by the government and Spain’s Union Fenosa to produce 3.7 million t/y of LNG.

“Our aim is to optimise what we have at the moment… and to give the market a common message from Oman, that they are representing Oman’s LNG industries,” said Al-Kitani.

The merger will not affect the purchasing agreements signed with the two companies’ largely East Asian customer base.

Al-Kitani said Oman LNG loaded over 1,500 cargoes in 2012. The company reported flat year-on-year revenues of about $4bn.