Oman’s petroleum refineries have recorded sharp declines in production this year as the demand for fuels took a major hit due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and economic recession.
The production of M91 grade petrol dropped 34 per cent to 7.05mn barrels during the first nine months of 2020, while the output of M95 grade petrol decreased 7 per cent to 9.32mn barrels over the same period, the statistics released by the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI) showed.
The aviation fuel output plummeted by 48 per cent to 5.88mn barrels during January – September period of 2020, while liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production fell 22 per cent to 4.53mn barrels, the data showed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused one of the biggest declines in fuel consumption in history as the lockdowns and restrictions to curb the spread of the virus kept fuel demand low since March 2020. The closure of many economic activities, mainly during the second and third quarters, resulted in a dramatic reduction in sales volume of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel in Oman.
The domestic sale of M91 grade petrol fell 27 per cent year-on-year to 5.8mn barrels in the first nine months of 2020, while sales of M95 grade petrol dropped 14 per cent to 8.22mn barrels during the January–September period of this year, the NCSI data showed.
Diesel sales also declined by 13 per cent year-on-year to 10mn barrels during the first nine months of this year. Sales of aviation fuel, due to travel restrictions and closure of airports for a long period, plummeted by 62 per cent to 1.4mn barrels during the January–September period of 2020 compared to 3.66mn barrels volumes sold in the corresponding period of 2019.
With its increased refining capacity in the past few years, Oman had significantly raised its exports of refined petroleum products, but the coronavirus pandemic has hit the export sales hard this year.
Export sales of M91 grade petrol plunged by 19 per cent to 2.72mn barrels in the first nine months of 2020 against 3.35mn barrels in the same period a year ago. Export sales of M95, however, rose by 90 per cent to 1.29mn barrels.
Oman’s export of aviation fuel dropped 38 per cent to 4.6mn barrels in the first nine months of 2020 from 7.44mn barrels in the same period of 2019. The volume of LPG exports was 27 per cent lower this year at 2.78mn barrels compared to the same period of last year.