Oman opens up for investment

28 January 2021
With projects worth more than $170bn planned or under way, the sultanate offers a healthy pipeline for the post-Covid era

Despite being one of the smaller markets in the GCC, Oman offers significant and consistent business and investment opportunities as it seeks to diversify its economy and create opportunities for Omanis.

Over the past few years, project activity in Oman has escalated, with several notable megaprojects completed such as the Duqm refinery, the new Muscat International airport and the Batinah expressway scheme. 

With more than $170bn-worth of projects planned or under way, Oman offers a strong pipeline of future opportunities.

Delayed projects

The Covid-19 pandemic and weak oil prices had a marked negative effect on Oman’s project market in 2020 with less than $5bn-worth of project contracts awarded in the year. Few planned projects have been cancelled however, suggesting that there is a large stockpile of delayed projects waiting to go ahead once conditions improve.

Faced with an economic downturn, the outlook for Oman’s future projects market will hinge on foreign investment in its major industrial hubs in Sohar, Duqm and Salalah. Chinese investment in particular will be key as its Belt and Road Initiative seeks to benefit from Oman’s position on the main East-West shipping axis.

Few planned projects have been cancelled, suggesting there is a stockpile of projects waiting to go ahead once conditions improve

Also critical will be the development of the sultanate’s public-private partnership plans to obtain more private sector involvement in the funding, construction and operation of future projects.

In the absence of major government capital expenditure, private sector financing will be pivotal in getting projects moving again.

Furthermore, with tourism a key component of Oman’s Vision 2040, a swift revival of this sector after the pandemic will be important for the sultanate’s recovery, as developers prepare to complete nearly $7.5bn of tourism and tourism-related projects by the end of 2023.

The accession of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said in January 2020 is another critical factor to progress. The new sultan has had a big impact in 2020, making significant changes to the government and the devolution of powers to both ministers and regional governors. 

Oman 2021 is the latest premium intelligence report from MEED Insght. The report assesses the drivers of Oman’s projects market and the opportunities for international and local business. These opportunities and their challenges are analysed along with the political and economic environment.

Covering oil, gas, petrochemicals, power, construction, tourism, water, manufacturing and transport, the report is a powerful resource for anyone seeking to find opportunities, understand risks and set strategy in Oman. Oman 2021 has been updated in December 2020 to consider the impact of coronavirus on the sultanate. 

Purchase the report here



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