Oman mulls share sale of state refining group

12 January 2015

Orpic shares may be offered to public, oil minister quoted as saying

Oman’s government is considering divesting part of its refining group Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic), according to a statement made by Oil Minister Mohammad al-Rumhy, on 10 January.

“There is a plan to privatise part of Orpic, which is a big company,” Al-Rumhy was quoted as saying by the Omani newspaper Azzamn. “We have the initial approval from the Ministry of Finance. After the expansion plan that concludes in 2016, we might offer 15-20 per cent of the company to the public.”

Orpic operates the country’s only refineries in Muscat and Sohar, the latter of which is currently undergoing a major capacity expansion.

In Oman’s 2015 budget announcement at the start of January, the government said privatisations would be carried out over the next three years to plug the deficit caused by falling oil prices.

Oman’s 2015 budget will be the country’s largest ever, with public spending raised by 4.5 per cent to RO14.1bn ($36.7bn) and a deficit of RO2.5bn.

Al-Rumhy also said the state-owned investment group Oman Oil Company (OOC) might sell shares in the exploration and production group Abraj Energy Services.

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