INVEST AND DELIVER

Oman 2017 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Musab Al Mahruqi, CEO of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic), on investment opportunities amidst low oil prices, the role Orpic is playing in developing the SME sector, and outlooks for the year ahead.

Musab Al Mahruqi
BIOGRAPHY
Starting his career as a field engineer for an integrated international oilfield services company, Musab Al Mahruqi is now one of the leading experts in the industry and one of the leading contributors to the growth of Oman Oil Company’s portfolio. Having held various project roles, he has an innate understanding of how to identify effective and innovative solutions for complex business operations. Al Mahruqi has years of international experience in the oil and gas sector, gained in the Middle East, Africa and the Caspian Sea. In 2010, he was appointed as CEO of Orpic.

How does Orpic successfully deliver fuel to Oman and export products to its global customers while pursuing investment opportunities in the energy sector?

Supplying fuel to Oman is not just a mandate but a responsibility bestowed to Orpic, as Orpic is the sole licensed refiner and petroleum product importer/exporter. Currently, approximately 70-75% of the refinery production is marketed in Oman. This provides a solid foundation to Orpic for further growth. Another important aspect of Orpic's business strategy is to add further value to the natural resources of Oman. Orpic not only adds value to the Oman export blend (OEB) crude oil by refining it to higher value petroleum products, but also uses condensate produced as a side product of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facilities at Sur. At the Sohar Refinery, Orpic processes methanol produced from the natural gas/methane resources of Oman and converts it to higher value etherified gasoline, a component used in gasoline blending. Furthermore, growth is an important ambition at Orpic. Aside from regular capital expenditure, there are flagship growth projects in the pipeline. First, Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP) implementation will overcome the constraints of the residue fluidized catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit at the existing Sohar Refinery and will produce an additional quantity—70% extra capacity—of products to meet the growing requirement for petroleum products in the country, as well as supplying additional volumes to the aromatics plant and polypropylene plant.

What are Orpic's expectations in terms of increasing its contribution to the country's GDP, while manufacturing plastics that are highly rated in terms of global demand?

Liwa Plastics Industries Complex (LPIC) is the biggest of the three strategic growth projects undertaken by Orpic to achieve its vision of building an Omani integrated refining and petrochemical business. Upon commissioning in 2020, Liwa Plastics Industries Complex will transform Orpic's product mix and business model, double company profit, create new business opportunities, generate significant employment opportunities, and support the development of a downstream plastics industry in Oman. With the highly integrated complex in Sohar including the refineries, aromatics plant, steam cracker, and downstream polypropylene and polyethylene plants, the operation will be one of the best integrated refinery and petrochemical facility combinations in the world and will be able to achieve the maximum value added for Oman's hydrocarbon molecule. Following LPIC's commissioning, plastics production is forecast to increase by more than 1 million tons, giving Orpic a total of 1.4 million tons of polyethylene and polypropylene production. The LPIC project will contribute roughly 2% to Oman's GDP upon commissioning.

What is the scope of the first in-country value (ICV) roadshow organized by Orpic in Sohar?

As part of its commitment to support the Sultanate's nationalization plan and offer opportunities to Omani SMEs, Orpic conducted its first ICV roadshow in Sohar. This event was conducted in association with CB&I and CTCI Corporation, which have been awarded the engineering, procurement, and contracting (EPC) award for steam cracker and utilities for LPIC. Through this roadshow, Orpic intends to support SMEs directly via business operations and ring fence certain tenders specifically for Omani SMEs, which in turn will positively impact Oman's GDP.

What are your expectations for Orpic over the next 12 months?

We expect the market environment to be fluctuating and challenging in the next 12 months; however, our main focus is on the controllable elements of our business. We want to keep on progressing with our reliability improvement journey to ensure industry best practice asset utilization and the effective integration of existing and new assets as a result of the realization of the three flagship projects, all while recruiting, developing, and retaining talent and enhancing profitability and earnings through short term profitability improvement initiatives and long-term business development initiatives. It is clear 2017 will be an exciting year for Orpic, as the first of our three megaprojects will be operational, and we expect significant contribution from SRIP to the business.