According to Simon Watkins, Oman is beginning the final testing phase of its crude oil distillation unit at the strategically significant Duqm refinery with assistance from China.
Due to its enviable geographic location as one of the world’s major oil and gas hubs, Oman is of crucial strategic importance to the U.S.-Europe-Japan axis and the China-Russia axis. Oman has long sought to extract additional value from its oil reserves by using them as a feedstock to develop its own world-class petrochemical industry. However, the country only has about five billion barrels of estimated proven oil reserves, placing it only as the 22nd largest in the world.
China has been keen to exert its influence across the Middle East, including Oman, as part of its “Belt and Road” initiative, not just in terms of investment in Oil and Gas Projects, but also with regard to the strategic importance of shipping routes through the region, consistent with Beijing’s well-known strategic goals
However, the Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company has announced the start of the trial operation for the crude oil distillation unit at the Duqm Refinery, with assistance from both China and the United States. The refinery will operate alongside the US$4.6 billion Liwa Plastics Project (LPP) industrial complex, which is also near the Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company’s Sohar refinery in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm.