TBY talks to Yousuf Al-Ojaili, CEO of Oman Gas Company, on the country's expanding gas supply network and future business openings.

Yousuf Al-Ojaili
Yousuf Al-Ojaili is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tulsa in the US and he also obtained an MSc in Industrial Engineering from Sultan Qaboos University. His industrial career spans over 25 years and has been spent in positions at Petroleum Development Oman, Brunei Shell Petroleum, and Oman Gas Company. He is a Board Member of Takamul Investment Company (a subsidiary of Oman Oil Company), Board Member of Oman Oil E&P Company, and a member of the Joint Management Committees of both BP Oman and Oman Oil’s E&P Abu Tubul Gas Development. In terms of academia, he is member of the Industrial Advisory Board of the Engineering College at Sultan Qaboos University.

Could you describe the evolution of the Oman Gas Company (OGC) since 2005?

The company was established in 2000, when it took over the pipeline transportation business from PDO at that time. The pipelines were about 900 kilometers long and we had a handful of gas consumers at that time. As of today, we have 43 gas consumer points in the country. We have almost tripled our pipeline length, added three compression stations on the pipelines, and are still expanding the pipeline network. OGC has evolved from a gas transportation company to a more complex gas transportation and gas value chain focus. Our largest consumer, sector-wise, is power and water. Second comes industry, and that consists of large industrial users, like the methanol, fertilizer, steel, cement, and refinery sectors, and then a large percentage of our gas goes to oil operations.

From where is your gas sourced?

We get our gas from four producers currently: PDO Block 6, which accounts for about 70% of gas production, and then the other 30% comes from Oxy's Safah field, PTTEP, and the Dolphin Gas import project. On average, we import about 5.5 million cubic meters per day from Dolphin, which is approximately 12% of our total supply. It is important that you do not depend on one gas supplier, especially in a country like Oman, where we are heavily reliant on gas, and our gas network is quite diversified geographically. We have been dependent not only upon Dolphin Gas, but other producers like PTTEP and Oxy, especially if we have significant gas interruptions from other producers. The Dolphin connection is the first cross-GCC connection, and now we are importing Qatari gas through the UAE. That is the type of good cooperation we would like to see, especially when you talk about gas networks, electricity networks, and other forms of cooperation.

Do you provide any consultancy services for companies looking to explore for gas in Oman?

We do and we help them. We have been providing some consultancy services, especially for the newcomers to Oman, helping them to understand the gas infrastructure, the business, and the opportunities, where to tie in their plants and pipelines, and sometimes we help them on the pipeline design itself. We also provide feedback on where we can optimize the gas value chain in the country. We have a strong relationship with the Ministry of Oil and Gas, and we advise its officials and they consult us on gas-related issues. We also consult them on gas value opportunities, which has been successful, and we now have projects in the pipeline.

How do you envisage gas prices changing in the coming years?

The price has already changed for major consumers, and the country has to follow the international trend. However, for new industries, the government has put in place a different set of gas prices, and that is in line with international trends. Of course, the rise of unconventional or tight gas will mean our supply will cost much more. If we go more unconventional, and drill deeper, then we perhaps will need fracking technology and the price will go up.

How will the Duqm development affect OGC?

We are gearing up for it. We are building the largest capacity pipeline in OGC down to Duqm, just to be ready for the development. We are quite busy on the Duqm pipeline now and I hope we will be the first main infrastructure to arrive there.