Oman increased its production of crude oil by 4 per cent in 2012 as it continued to improve recovery through enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects, the sultanate’s Ministry of Oil & Gas announced.

The country produced an average of 918,500 barrels a day (b/d) of crude last year, which this year it expects to increase to 939,000 b/d. At the same time, production of unassociated natural gas rose 3.3 per cent to 98 million cubic metres a day (cm/d).

Oil production capacity was expanded with the commissioning of gas injection at the Harweel field in December, which increased daily production by 16,250 b/d, according to the ministry’s undersecretary Nasser bin Khamis al-Jashmi.

Oman is aiming to sustain production in the medium term, with its largest oil producer Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) forecasting stable crude production of about 550,000 b/d in the next ten years.

Efforts to sustain oil production will be driven by investments of more than $1bn each in three onshore megaprojects being developed by PDO – Rabab Harweel Integrated Project, Yibal Khuff and Budour.

“Suspect there may be decline from other companies [but] decline is natural in our business… When new findings are developed, production can be sustained for much longer,” said Oil & Gas Minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Rumhy. “Personally I do not believe production will decline over the next five years.”

Oman’s crude reserves were estimated at 4.6 billion barrels at the end of 2012. By comparison, UK-based oil major BP estimated Oman’s proved reserves at 5.5 billion barrels at the end of 2011.