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Oman's National Oil Firm To Sell Off Assets To Fund $8 Billion In Spending

Oman’s state-held energy company OQ looks to sell assets and tap the international debt market in order to fund its planned US$7.9 billion expenditures over the next five years, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, quoting a bond prospectus it had seen.

OQ does not expect to receive funding from the state anymore, which has so far poured as much as US$8.6 billion in the energy firm, according to Bloomberg.

OQ suffered losses in 2020 at its major upstream division as well as the refinery business after oil prices and oil demand crashed at the start of the pandemic in the spring of last year. Oman’s OQ was created in 2019 through the integration of nine companies in the upstream, downstream, and fuel marketing sectors.

Oman’s state finances also suffered a lot last year and continue to suffer this year, too.

Oman, a non-OPEC oil producer which is part of the OPEC+ alliance, has been hit very hard by the oil price and demand crash in 2020, and is looking to raise additional funding while it is cutting government expenditure.

The 2020 shocks “took a heavy toll on the economy in 2020,” the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a brief on Oman earlier this year.

Oman’s fiscal deficit was expected to double to 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, before narrowing to 7 percent of GDP by 2024, Fitch Ratings said in December, warning that Oman’s fiscal plan faced large implementation and funding risks.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that the government of Oman was looking at several options to plug the widened budget hole, including selling a stake in OQ via an initial public offering (IPO).

OQ operates in 13 different countries and is active in oil exploration and production as well as fuels and petrochemicals. For now, it is wholly owned by the government of Oman. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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