Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa

The Oil Exploration in Oman

Muscat Harbor

Oil exploration in Oman began in the late 1930s, but with little success. It was not until the beginning of the 1960s that oil was found in the interior (in Yibal, Marmul, and Fahud). However, from the 1930s, the financial situation of the country improved slightly when income from oil exploration concessions began to drip into the state treasury. With the revenues, the ruler Sultan Said bin Taymur was able to start organizing the state’s finances and to compile a blueprint for development that was to bridge the gap that had grown over the past decades. Results included several projects in the Muscat area and al-Batina.

Under Qaboos bin Said the process gained momentum. With a reliable source of income a network of public goods and services was soon laid out throughout the country. Roads, electricity, and water, schools, health care centres and modern means of communication came within reach of the entire population. With the oil dollars more (luxury) goods could be imported which the former Sultan had barred to prevent accruing (foreign) debts due to the lack of foreign currency. Living conditions improved rapidly and considerably.

According to the 8th Five-Year Plan that was launched in 2011, Oman is going to invest RO 6.6 billion in projects concerning oil and gas expenditure, investing RO 3.2 billion in oil production.