Low oil prices cost Oman $14 billion last year

Low oil prices cost Oman $14 billion last year
2 min read
08 February, 2016
Oman continues to feel the crunch due to low oil prices, as the Gulf state reported losses of at least $14 billion last year.
Oman's oil minister is coping with another year of huge losses [AFP]
In 2015, Oman lost $14 billion in potential revenues due to low oil prices, Muscat has revealed.

Oman's budget was based on oil being prices at $85 a barrel, but only sold the commodity at $56.5 last year, The National Centre of Statistics and Information revealed, almost half 2014 prices.

This led to a deficit of around $6.5 billion, although Times of Oman said that the Omani government had not finalised the 2015 deficit and believe it could be much higher.

The Sultanate reported a fiscal deficit of 15 percent last year, and are preparing for big losses in 2016 as prices continue to slump.

Muscat is particularly vulnerable to low oil prices, with around 80 percent of its revenues coming from hydrocarbons and having limited supplies left to tap into.

Oil Minister Mohammed al-Ruhmy has called for oil producers to cut production to stabilise prices and said it would be willing to cut output by between five and ten percent.

However, Oman is relatively small producer and the entrance of masses of Iranian oil onto the international market threatens to push prices even lower.

Muscat has attempted to cope with further losses this year by tightening government spending including a cut to energy subsidies and freezing of public sector jobs.

Oman has said it will eat into foreign reserves to cope with the financial pressure, but the sultanate has much fewer reserves than its Gulf neighbours.