Oman’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) production surged 4 per cent to a record 10.6 million tonnes in 2021 and is expected to reach 11 million tonnes a year after the completion of projects to increase output, the Oman News Agency reported on Sunday.
The LNG sector provided the sultanate's government with revenue of about $2.87 billion during the past year, the report said.
LNG production is expected to grow as state-backed Oman LNG previously revealed plans to expand capacity to 11.4 million tonnes a year in 2022 by reducing bottlenecks at its liquefaction plant in Qalhat, south of the capital, Muscat.
“During 2021, the Oman LNG Company continued its progress in implementing several strategic projects that are nearing completion to enhance productivity, such as the plant renewal project … and the modern energy project that uses gas engine technology to raise efficiency,” ONA said.
LNG is natural gas that turns into a colourless and non-toxic liquid when cooled to about minus 162°C. The cooling process shrinks the volume of the gas, making it easy to ship and store.
It can be used for cooking and heating, as a fuel for commercial vehicles, generating electricity, and for manufacturing products such as fertilisers, paints and medicines.
Global trade in LNG rose 6 per cent to 380 million tonnes in 2021 on the back of higher demand as economies recovered from the coronavirus-induced slowdown and countries focused on cutting emissions, according to Shell's latest LNG outlook report.
China, the world's second-largest economy, and South Korea led the growth in LNG demand last year.
Demand is expected to increase this year as European countries look for alternative LNG supplies after the ban on most of the energy imports from Russia because of Moscow's conflict with Ukraine.
Oman LNG is 51 per cent owned by the state of Oman. Other shareholders include Shell Gas with a 30 per cent stake, TotalEnergies, Korea LNG, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui and Company, Partex Corporation Oman and Itochu.
Oman LNG's net income after tax rose 34 per cent to $880 million in 2021 as revenue rose 31 per cent to $3bn amid a recovery in global energy markets, the ONA reported.
“The company demonstrated its complete readiness and high flexibility to adapt to exceptional circumstances during the past period and face all challenges and difficulties to implement its business at the highest levels,” Talal Al Oufi, chairman of the board of directors of Oman LNG, said.
Oman's gas reserves stand at roughly 24 trillion cubic feet, according to official estimates.