Oman increased its oil production by 2.5 per cent in 2013, despite a decline in production at its main state-backed producer Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the latest data from the Oil Ministry shows.

The country’s total output of crude and concentrates averaged at 941,000 barrels a day (b/d), compared with 918,500 b/d in 2012, with gas production also rising year-on-year.

Oman, which has the second-smallest oil and gas sector in the GCC after Bahrain, has achieved a steady increase in crude production since it hit a trough in 2007. The government is aiming to maintain production at its maturing fields through a variety of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) schemes being deployed throughout the country.

PDO, a joint venture of the Omani government, UK/Dutch Shell, France’s Total and Portugal’s Partex, saw production drop marginally to 655.6 b/d from 658.8 b/d a year earlier.

This was offset by a 10.9 per cent increase in output by the local subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum (Oxy Oman), which produced an average of 90,400 b/d.

Another major contributor to Omani production growth was Norway’s DNO, which operates onshore fields in the north of the country. DNO more than doubled production to 12,600 b/d in 2013, compared with 5,700 b/d.

Further data showed that the number of producing fields was flat at 185 in 2013, but the number of production wells increased by 6.7 per cent to 5,725.

While oil production increased in 2013, this was offset by a decline in the price the non-Opec country received for its oil exports.

The average price of Omani crude in 2013 was $105.5 a barrel, down from the record $109.6 in 2012. However, this still marks the second-highest average annual crude price in history.

Natural gas production in the sultanate increased by 3 per cent to 37.15 billion cubic metres in 2013, as both associated and non-associated gas output rose.

Oman exports its excess gas supplies via shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to customers in Asia and Europe. Both the country’s LNG companies, Oman LNG and Qalhat LNG (which merged last year), increased shipments in 2013.

According to the Oil Ministry, Oman LNG increased annual LNG exports by 6.8 per cent to 5.63 million tonnes and natural gas liquids (NGL) exports by 8 per cent to 270,000 tonnes. The smaller Qalhat LNG boosted LNG exports by 6.5 per cent to 3.3 million tonnes.

In the downstream sector, refinery throughput declined by 8.5 per cent to 69.7 million barrels, while exports of refined products fell 30.7 per cent to 8.8 million barrels.

Oman is currently expanding the capacity of its Sohar refinery in the north of the country and is planning to build a new refinery at the central port of Duqm.