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Sun 11 Jan 2015 02:12 PM

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Oman said to mull privatising part of state oil refiner

Oil minister says government may sell off part of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co

Oman said to mull privatising part of state oil refiner

Oman's government may sell off part of oil refiner Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co (ORPIC) as it revives a privatisation programme in response to weak oil prices, oil minister Mohammad bin Hamad Al Rumhy was quoted as saying.

In its 2015 budget announcement early this month, the finance ministry projected a record deficit and said privatisations would be carried out in the next three years to raise money. It did not elaborate.

Rumhy was quoted by Oman's Azzamn newspaper on Sunday as saying ORPIC, which runs oil refineries at Sohar and Muscat as well as aromatics and polypropylene production plants at Sohar, and has over 1,600 employees, was one likely privatisation target.

"There is a plan to privatise part of ORPIC, which is a big company. We have the initial approval from the ministry of finance. After the expansion plan that concludes in 2016, we might offer 15 to 20 percent of the company to the public."

Rumhy was also quoted as saying that Oman Oil Co, the sultanate's energy investment arm, might sell shares in Abraj Energy Services, an oil exploration and production firm.

"The 10-year-old company is generating good profits. The plan is to offer the company to the public during 2015," he said.

Abraj operated 11 land oil rigs and employed over 650 staff as of 2011, according to Oman Oil's website.

Comment could not immediately be obtained from Oman Oil or the oil ministry.

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