Oil shipments unaffected by Oman protests

Reuters, Monday 28 Feb 2011

Marine traffic continues but roadblocks could cause future slowdown

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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