Oman to Import LNG as Domestic Use Surges

Oman to Import LNG as Domestic Use SurgesOman to Import LNG as Domestic Use Surges

Oman may start importing liquefied natural gas to meet surging domestic energy demand, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, which shift in trade would make it the fourth Arab country in the oil-rich Persian Gulf to buy LNG.

LNG imports would supplement Oman’s current supply of natural gas by pipeline from Qatar, Bloomberg reported.

“Oman also hopes to receive gas from Iran through a separate pipeline that has yet to be built. Oman and Iran are discussing a route for this link,” Mohammed Al-Rumhy, Oman’s oil minister, said on April 14.

The two countries still have not agreed on a price for the Iranian gas, said the two people, who asked not to be identified because the plan has not been made public yet.

The country currently exports liquefied gas under long-term contracts to Spain and several Asian countries, including Japan and South Korea. It is now also studying options to import LNG to help generate power and for other uses. Potential imports would arrive at the port of Sohar north of the capital city Muscat. Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas did not respond to calls for comment on Sunday.

Oman’s possible shift to importing the fuel follows years of rising local gas consumption and shrinking exports of LNG. Spare production capacity at Oman LNG LLC, which operates the country’s facilities for liquefying gas for export, last year reached its highest level since 2006, according to the company’s annual report.

Natural gas consumption in Oman jumped to 774 billion cubic feet in 2013 from 520 billion cubic feet in 2009, according to the US Energy Information Administration.