Oman is poised to expand oil output to 915,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year as envisaged in the 2012 budget, compared with the current average of about 855,000bpd, Oil and Gas Minister Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy told the official Oman News Agency (ONA) in an interview. He said production would increase from April with the start of operations at the Harweel field which, he pointed out, would add 30,000bpd together with a number of wells in Qarn Alam. Several new companies, he said, would contribute to the sultanate’s oil output in the coming months, including OC Energy Company and existing companies such as BP and Occidental Mukhaizna. At present there are seven companies operating in the country. Rumhy said Oman attached “great interest in developing the oil and gas exploration and excavation programmes, building oil and gas stations and implementing non-traditional oil projects.” He said new efforts to develop gas production were under way by BP in Khazzan and Makarem, which will produce one billion cubic feet (mcf) of gas initially alongside some oil condensates. Rumhy said the sultanate’s gas production currently stood at more than 95mcf and the figure to reach 100mcf by the end of this year. “The Oil and Gas Ministry is currently implementing a number of new projects, such as an electricity and gas pipeline to the Duqm Economic Zone, being implemented by the Oman Gas Company,” he said. To a question, he said 25 per cent of the current oil prices in the international market could be attributed to technical reasons and not to supply and demand forces alone. “Therefore, if the conditions remain as they are, the average oil price for the current year may easily range between $120 and $125,” he concluded.