Muscat – A Saudi-Omani oil pipeline to the Arabian Sea is of paramount strategic significance as it will provide an alternative route for Saudi oil shipments to reduce dependence on the Strait of Hormuz, according to H E Dr Said bin Mohammed al Saqri, Minister of Economy.
In an interview with Asharq al Awsat newspaper in Saudi Arabia, H E Saqri said, “It is time to start transporting Saudi oil through the Arabian Sea via Oman. The idea of a project to construct an oil pipeline across the sultanate to the Arabian Sea has existed since the 1970s.”
He also stated that Oman and Saudi Arabia recently signed several agreements to increase investments between the two countries. “Therefore, the project’s implementation has become of strategic importance.”
Endorsing the importance of the project, Faisal Faeq, an energy sector adviser who has worked with Saudi Aramco and OPEC Secretariat, recently wrote in Arab News: “An oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia to the Arabian Sea via Oman would reduce the region’s dependence on the Strait of Hormuz, which is currently the main artery for the majority of oil and gas exports from the Arabian Gulf.”
In Faeq’s estimation, the economic benefits would include savings for oil tankers, in terms of both journey time and the cost of freight and insurance. “Such a project would require billions of dollars to fund, but the cost will be justified by the strategic and economic benefits.”
In his interview with Asharq al Awsat, H E Saqri added that the opening of a road between Oman and Saudi Arabia will facilitate work on connecting the city of Duqm and the city of NEOM in Saudi Arabia. “The road will open the way for Saudi goods to reach Omani ports faster. Both countries will benefit from the existing facilities of each other, such as industrial and free zones, and the possibility of establishing new economic areas on the border,” he said.
He noted that the volume of trade and investment exchange between the two countries will increase through joint strategic projects and mutual investments in various sectors, especially after the opening of the new Saudi-Oman road.
“There is cooperation and ongoing joint meetings between Oman and Saudi Arabia to discuss investment opportunities and prospects for integration in the special economic zones, such as the establishment of an industrial zone in the sultanate. Saudi Arabia will develop, operate and manage the zone,” H E Saqri informed.