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Oil shipments unaffected by Oman protests

Marine traffic continues but roadblocks could cause future slowdown

Reuters, Monday 28 Feb 2011
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Shipments of refined crude from Oman's port of Sohar are continuing, a port spokeswoman said on Monday after anti-government protests blocked roads leading to the key industrial area in the Gulf oil producer.

The port ships 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) of a range of products from the Sohar refinery, she said.

"It is true the protesters are making a very non-violent protest," the spokeswoman told Reuters. "Marine traffic in and out is not affected at the moment."

Oman is a small oil producer, pumping around 850,000 bpd of crude, which is exported through its port of Mina al-Fahal, where Oman also has a smaller refinery with a capacity of around 85,000 bpd.

Oman has announced investments to increase output and its crude already has international significance because it is used as a pricing benchmark.

The port spokeswoman said sustained protests, blocking trucks and staff from gaining access to the port, could eventually affect marine traffic. Crude reaches the refinery by pipeline.

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