Oman reiterates commitment to Hambantota refinery project

Omani Oil and Gas Minister Dr. Mohammed Hamed Al Rumhy has reiterated Oman Oil Company’s firm interest to take part in the Hambantota oil refinery project which was announced this March.
This was communicated to ministers Malik Samarawickrama, Kabir Hashim and Rishad Bathiudeen when they visited Oman early this year on the invitation of the Oman Embassy in Sri Lanka.
It was announced in March that the Omani Ministry of Oil and Gas would have a 30 percent stake in a US$ 3.88 billion oil refinery
project in Hambantota.
However, it later emerged that Oman had no shareholding in the project which was mooted by a Singapore-registered entity called Silver
Park International.
A Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry media communiqué said that the ministerial visit was a follow up to the meetings Dr. Al Rumhy had with the three ministers in Sri Lanka in March 2019, during the former’s visit to Sri Lanka as the guest of honour at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the greenfield oil refinery in Hambantota, on Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’s invitation.
On May 5, the delegation was taken on a familiarization tour to the Sohar Free Zone and port, where comprehensive presentations were made by the representatives of the Sohar Port Industrial Port company and Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic).
During the familiarization tour, the delegation was given a comprehensive briefing of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry of Oman.
The delegation had a site visit to the oil refinery and Liwa Plastic Industries Complex which is the new petrochemical complex developed by Orpic.
On May 6, the delegation had official discussions with Dr. Al Rumhy, Omani Commerce and Industry Ministry Ali Masoud Al Sunaidi and State General Reserve Fund Chief Investment Officer Mulham Al Jarf.
The meeting with Dr. Al Rumhy focused on exploring avenues for cooperation in the field of petroleum industry between Sri Lanka and Oman and sharing the experience of Oman in setting up of oil refinery projects in Oman and abroad.
The two delegations also discussed on providing training for the staff of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd. in Oman.
At the meeting with Omani Commerce and Industry Minister Ali Masoud Al Sunaidi, it has been agreed to expedite the process of finalizing the agreement for the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments between the government of Sri Lanka and Oman.
Omani minister has also proposed to work towards setting up a joint commission headed by the ministers of industry and commerce of the two countries to have a broader framework for bilateral cooperation.
At the meeting with Mulham Al Jarf, Chief Investment Officer of the State General Reserve Fund(SGRF), which is the sovereign wealth fund as well the main investment arm of the sultanate, the Sri Lankan side briefed on the investment opportunities in the areas of ports development, fisheries, agriculture, hospitality industry and development of highways.
The Omani side expressed their keen interest in exploring investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, and agreed to arrange a visit of an official team from SGRF for discussions with the relevant institutions in mid June 2019.

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