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Oman to up Sohar refining 60 pct by 2015-agency

Sohar expansion planned to be completed by 2015; CB&I Lummus chosen for expansion work

May 18, 2011 3:44 by

Oman has signed an agreement with an international engineering company to boost the capacity of its Sohar refinery by around 60 percent by 2015, the country’s state news agency reported on Wednesday.

“The goal behind signing this agreement is to improve the quality of products and increase refining capacity by around 60 percent,” the agency said, citing a statement from Oman’s oil minister at the signing ceremony.

Part of New York-listed CB&I , CB&I Lummus was chosen to provide engineering services for the expansion in Sohar refinery, whose capacity currently stands at 116,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Sitting outside the strategic Straits of Hormuz, the port of Sohar and refinery is seen rivalling other ports in the region such as Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, one of the top three bunkering ports in the world.

Oman is a small non-OPEC producer with a capacity of around 860,000 bpd of oil, with two refineries; one at Sohar and the other one, Mina al-Fahal, near Muscat with a capacity of 106,000 bpd. [ID:nLDE71R1ZB]

In February, hundreds of protestors had blocked access to an industrial area that includes the port of Sohar, which exports around 160,000 bpd of refined oil products. [ID:nLDE71R041]

“The expansion of Sohar refinery is a continuation of the investments in the oil and gas industry of Oman,” the oil minister Mohammad Al-Rumhy was quoted as saying.

“This (expansion) is in line with the vision of 2020, supporting the national economy…and to meet the urgent demands for oil products,” he said.

CB&I Lummus was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Sara Anabtawi; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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