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Refinery output falls in 2020 as COVID-19 hits fuel demand

31 Jan 2021

The sultanate’s petroleum refineries recorded sharp declines in the production last year as the demand for fuels was badly hit due to the coronavirus pandemic and economic recession triggered by the virus outbreak.

The production of M91 grade petrol in Oman dropped by 28 per cent to 9.597mn barrels during the full year 2020, while the output of M95 grade petrol decreased by 7 per cent to 12.805mn barrels, the figures released by the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI) showed.

The aviation fuel production plummeted by 51 per cent to 6.980mn barrels during the year ended December 31, 2020, while liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production fell 10 per cent to 6.121mn barrels, the data showed.

The COVID-19 pandemic last year caused one of the biggest declines in fuel consumption in the history as the lockdowns and restrictions to curb the spread of the virus kept fuel demand low. The closure of many economic activities, mainly during the second and third quarters of 2020, resulted in a dramatic reduction in sales volume of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel in Oman.

The domestic sale of M91 grade petrol fell 26 per cent to 7.831mn barrels in 2020, while sales of M95 grade petrol dropped 12 per cent to 11.535mn barrels during the year.

Diesel sales also declined by 13 per cent year-on-year to 13.3mn barrels. Sales of aviation fuel, due to travel restrictions and closure of airports for a long period in 2020, plummeted by 67 per cent to 1.683mn barrels during the January–December period of 2020 compared to 5.040mn barrels sold in 2019.

Export of M91 grade petrol plunged by 21 per cent to 3.088mn barrels in 2020 against 3.904mn barrels in the same period a year ago, while export sales of M95 rose by 77 per cent to 1.563mn barrels.

Oman’s export of aviation fuel dropped 40 per cent to 5.340mn barrels during last year from 8.919mn barrels in 2019. The volume of LPG exports was 7 per cent lower in 2020 at 3.710mn barrels compared to the previous year.

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