Oman considers IPO of oil and gas firms

20 April 2017

The sultanate is looking to raise funds to offset the impact of lower oil prices on revenues

The government of Oman plans to part-privatise some of its downstream energy companies by selling their shares to public, as the sultanate looks to raise funds to offset the impact of lower oil prices on its revenues.

The state-owned assets include Salalah Methanol Company and a drilling firm in the country, Oman’s Oil and Gas minister Mohammad bin Hamad al-Rumhy told reporters in Abu Dhabi. He did not name the second firm being considered for IPO, or the financial details in terms of how much Oman is looking to raise through stake offerings and when they are expected to take place.

Salalah Methanol 90 per cent owned by government-controlled Oman Oil Company, and the rest by Takamul Investment Company. Established in 2006, it has and has a methanol production capacity of 3,000 tonnes a day (t/d). The firm, in March, awarded Canada’s SNC-Lavalin an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for a 1,000 metric tons per day Anhydrous Liquid Ammonia Plant, including its utilities and off-site infrastructure, in Salalah Free Zone, according to its website.

Oman has been planning to sell part of its shareholding in the some of the state-owned companies in the in various sector but has yet to bring any of them to market. The sultanate heavily rely on revenues from sale of hydrocarbons to run its economy. It has drawn down on foreign reserves and has tapped international debt capital markets to bridge the fiscal gap after oil fell from mid-2014 peak of $115 a barrel to current $53 a barrel level.

Ahmed Bin Saleh al-Marhoon, the director general of Muscat Securities Market, in March, said that the authorities in Muscat plan to follow the lead of Saudi Aramco’s IPO and may in sell stakes in oil and gas firms. Public offerings are considered for “quite a number of companies, which is probably going to happen by the end of this year, if not, probably next year,” he said at the time without specifying the companies.

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