Oil production by the state-controlled Petroleum Development Oman, which produces 90% of the country's oil, will average higher at 750,000 barrels a day in 2004, he said. Oman has been subject to a decline in oil production since mid-2001, a result of the natural decline in the life cycle of its oil fields.
In the first nine months of 2003, oil exports fell 9.4% to 208.87 million barrels, from 230.59 million barrels in the year-earlier period.
Data from the National Economy Ministry shows total crude oil production averaged 823,800 barrels a day in the first nine months of 2003, down 9% from 904,700 barrels a day in the first nine months of 2002.
PDO's share of production averaged 741,420 b/d in the nine-month period, compared with 780,000 b/d in November 2002 and 840,000 b/d in May 2001. The company is now targeting output of 800,000 b/d by 2007 under current development program.
PDO is 60% owned by the Omani government, with the Royal Dutch/Shell Group owning 34%, TotalFinaElf SA 4% and Portuguese oil and gas company Partex 2%. Other foreign oil companies are responsible for the remaining 10% of Omani oil production. Al-Rumhy attributed the expected improvement in production to efforts made by the Oil Ministry in explorations.
Meanwhile, al-Rumhy said he agreed with the budgetary planners on the assumption of an average oil price of $21 a barrel for the 2004 government budget, which was announced Thursday.
Details of the budgetary items, including the oil price assumption and oil earnings are expected to be released during a press conference by Oman's Finance Minister Sunday.
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