By Simon Webb
Oil minister says flow insufficient to meet 'huge demand' from market and industrial complexes.
Even with the start of delayed gas imports to Oman in November, the sultanate is still short of gas supplies to meet rapidly growing demand, an Omani newspaper reported the oil minister as saying on Sunday.
Abu-Dhabi-based Dolphin Energy will begin supplying 200 million cubic feet per day of gas from Qatar to Oman in November, daily newspaper Al Watan reported, citing Oil and Gas Minister Mohammad Al-Rumhy.
That is another month's delay to the already postponed start in the flow through the line.
But the flow would be insufficient to meet the "huge demand" from the market and Oman's industrial complexes, Al-Rumhy was reported as saying.
Talks to import gas from Iran remain at the "preliminary" stage, Al-Rumhy said.
Oman will send a team to Iran this week to look at ways to accelerate the process, he said.
Oman and Iran plan to complete the $12 billion development of Iran's Kish gas field in the Gulf by 2012 to supply gas to Oman, an Omani energy ministry official said earlier this month. The two countries were also looking at developing another gas field, called Hengam in Iran and West Bukha in Oman.
Oman wants this field to be supplying gas by 2011.
In June 2007, Iran signed a deal to export gas to Oman that could open new export routes for the Islamic Republic well beyond the neighbouring Arab state.
Under that agreement, Iran would export 1 billion cubic feet of gas to Oman, some of which could be piped to Oman's liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant for export.
The Dolphin project linking Qatar's giant North Field with the United Arab Emirates and Oman was the first cross-border gas project in the world's biggest oil-exporting region.
Mubadala Development Co, run by the government of Abu Dhabi, owns 51 percent of Dolphin, while France's Total and US Occidental each have a 24.5 percent stake. (Reuters)