The Business Year

Chris Breeze

OMAN - Energy & Mining

Planning for the Future

Country Chairman, Shell Development Oman


Chris Breeze is the Country Chairman of Shell Development Oman. This followed a role as Senior Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa region in Shell’s Government Relations department. Before joining Shell, he served as a diplomat in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for over two decades. His overseas postings for the FCO included Egypt, Turkey, India, and Cyprus. He studied modern history and economics at Exeter College, Oxford University.

Shell fully benefits from its joint ventures by both leveraging its global expertise and learning from its partners.

What new projects do you expect from the MoU Shell signed with the government of Oman?

Today, we are looking toward a new chapter in our partnership with the Sultanate of Oman. The MoU covers upstream gas exploration and development, gas-to-liquids (GTL), LNG, and renewable energies, and we hope it leads to exploring and developing important new sources of gas. If so, it will pave the way to monetizing the country’s natural gas sources, in particular, GTL. GTL in Oman would generate valuable revenue and create wider social and economic opportunities for Omanis in the process. The government has rightly placed emphasis on new energy projects that focus on economic growth and job creation and developing Omani talent and contributing to in-country value. Our company is keen to build on the things we have achieved with our partners in Oman. Throughout our history, we have experienced how strong partnerships are the bedrock for successful projects, benefiting our partners and shareholders alike.

How is Shell using enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies within Oman?

Our 34% stake in Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is our biggest involvement in EOR, and we have had a long strategic alliance with PDO on EOR technologies. We have strategic alliances on a range of technical issues, but EOR is the centerpiece. PDO is interesting because it has chemical, thermal, and gas EOR. Oman is the only country that is using all three techniques at a full scale. There are another 19-20 pilot projects that PDO is working on, and we are helping with several of those. We are now looking at ways to make these techniques cheaper so that EOR technologies become more robust in periods of low oil prices. Soon, we will operate in Oman ourselves, with our 50% stake in block 42, though at the moment we are only involved in non-operated joint ventures.

How does Shell work to improve production efficiency and cost efficiency within Oman?

This is essentially the core purpose of our work in Oman. We seek to enhance the abilities of our joint ventures and make them even more world-class organizations than they already are. We leverage our global expertise and learn from our partners; therefore, it is a collaborative relationship. Our interactions cover the areas of people, technology, processes, and more. We bring in our Shell expertise and share knowledge with our joint ventures, and, where necessary, we support them in delivering improvement programs.

What is Shell’s strategy for reaching Omanization targets?

One of the key drivers for putting together our proposals for the projects in the MoU was employment creation, and we want to maximize the number of Omani jobs. That is our objective, which is why we proposed a GTL plant and extending the longevity of Oman LNG beyond 2025. It is also why we are looking at renewables as an area that is particularly well suited to Omani SMEs. Shell Oman Marketing Company has been awarded for its Omanization efforts due to its rate of almost 90%. In oil and gas, the Omanization target is 90%, and both PDO and Oman LNG are on their way to hitting that. We are focusing on a solid set of programs for transitioning people into positions of technical independence. The Omanization targets focus on talent development. We have also been training SMEs on how to build their own companies and increase their employment numbers as a direct result of the contact they have with us.

What are Shell’s long-term commitments to Oman?

We have plans in place for 20-30 years. We are proud of our history in Oman and fully committed to the country’s future. We see the new business in block 42, the upstream gas and related projects in GTL, and renewables as setting a growth agenda for Shell in Oman. This growth agenda is aligned and integrated with Oman’s own growth projections and perspectives.



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