In implementation of Sultan Qaboos’ decrees:

Sultanate govt. offers aid to flood-stricken people in Pakistan

Oman finances construction of emergency center in Yemen

Sultan Qaboos honors Jewel of Muscat ship captain

65 warehouses for food reserves, wheat silos with a capacity of 300,000 tons

42 million cubic meters of natural gas transferred daily, pipeline network to be expanded

The Yemeni port cities development authority is planning to build an emergency center in the province of Aden early next year (2011) at a cost of $10 million, to be financed by the Sultanate of Oman through the Arab Fund for Social Development and the Yemeni government’s contribution by 55 million Yemeni rials for the feasibility study and designs.

Meanwhile, in response to the Royal Orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the Sultanate, represented by Oman Charitable Organization (OCO), provided humanitarian aid for Pakistani flood victims.

The 422-tonne relief package includes foodstuff, home appliances, medicines and tents. It was distributed in Sukar and Baluchistan. Flood-hit areas in Punjab and Khaibar province will receive 764 tonnes of aid in the second stage. The Sultanate will provide 1,186 tonnes of relief materials to the victims.

The Sultanate provided similar aid last year for the refugees from Wadi Sawat, Bajoor and Mahman. It also sent two flights early this week carrying 84 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Multan city in Punjab province and Peshawar in Khabir province.

The Sultanate had expressed grave concern over the deaths and devastation in Pakistan, following the worst flood crisis in decades.

Addressing the UN’s 64th general assembly, HE Fuaad Bin Mubarak Al Hinai, the Sultanate’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said the Sultanate’s government, in coordination with the government of Pakistan, has offered all relief possible to help Pakistan tackle the disaster.

Highlighting the deep-rooted relations between the Sultanate and Pakistan, Al Hinai said, “The world is concerned about the devastation in Pakistan in the wake of the floods. The disaster has affected millions and more than one-fifth of the Pakistani territory, including 1.4 million acres of agricultural land and farms, are under water” he added.

Al Hinai said more than 1500 people had died and more than 20 million were displaced. Thousands are living in refugee camps and shelters. Heavy rain is expected to continue for a few more weeks and there are reports about spreading of diseases including Cholera.

Al Hinai said the international community would step in to help Pakistan in this time of crisis. “Pakistan is in need of relief materials and financial support to help millions of people who need food, medicines, and shelter,” he said.

Last week, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs launched an emergency appeal for $460 million for Pakistan and on Friday it said 55 per cent of the requested funds had been received.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmoud Qureshi, while addressing the UN assembly, pleaded for immediate increased assistance to deal with “the massive upheaval caused by the floods and the economic losses suffered by the millions of Pakistanis.”

Al Hinai prayed to the God to stop rain and landslides giving Pakistani authorities time to start relief measures.

On behalf of the Sultanate’s government, Al Hinai offered condolences to the government and people of Pakistan.

On the other hand, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said granted the honorarium medal to Lieutenant Saleh Al Jabri, Captain of the Jewel of Muscat.

The medal comes in recognition of his leadership and efforts in sailing the hand-sewn Omani vessel, which was given as a gift from His Majesty to the people of Singapore.

The medal was handed over by HH Sayyid Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said when he received Captain Al Jabri in his office on Sunday in the presence of Sayyid Badr Bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, Secretary-General at the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Rear Admiral Abdullah Bin Khamis Al Raisi, Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman.

“The medal is an accolade for the sailors who reignited it. The country has participated in many international sailing events and regattas. The Jewel of Muscat, a milestone in the relationship between the Sultanate and Singapore, received a grand welcome upon its arrival in Singapore in July. The ship will be on display at a special museum there as a testimony of the Sultanate’s remarkable achievements in forging diplomatic and trade ties with that region,” Badr said.

“I am honored. I am the happiest man in the world to be honored by His Majesty. The Jewel of Muscat comes hand-in-hand with His Majesty’s wise vision and is a recognition of our maritime heritage. I am very grateful to HM for this honor and I share this achievement with my crew and the Omani people for their support during this epic journey,” Saleh said.

“The voyage has taught me a great deal about how our forefathers used to sail on the dhows and I have relived the pride of our forefathers after sailing on the Jewel. As a senior instructor in Oman Sailing School, we aim at establishing seven sailing schools and I look forward to sharing my experience with the youngsters,” he added.

Meanwhile, latest consumer price data issued by Ministry of National Economy shows price stability for most of the major foodstuff during the third and fourth weeks of August (the first and second weeks of the Holy Month of Ramadan) compared to the price average registered in the first two weeks of August in the markets of Muscat Governorate.

The data showed stability in the prices of fresh and frozen meat and chicken. Prices of most types of rice went down as Indian and Pakistani basmati varieties decreased by 0.1-10.9 per cent while the other types of rice remained unchanged.

Flour prices also remained unchanged in the second half of Ramadan.

The third and fourth weeks of Ramadan recorded a decline in fish prices with the exception to some types.

The data also showed that prices of milk and dairy products fluctuated; some products remained unchanged while others decreased, and some others rose. Local egg prices declined by 0.3 per cent.

The prices of oils and fats showed that the corn oil increased by 0.1 - 0.3 per cent while ghee and margarine prices declined by 3 per cent and 1.1 per cent. For dry beans, most of the prices remained unchanged, excluding lentil prices that decreased by 0.1- 0.5 per cent. Loose sugar continued its hike during the third and fourth weeks of Ramadan by 1.9 per cent compared to the prices of the two weeks preceding Ramadan.

The prices of ready-made tea rose between 1.1- 3.2 per cent, while coffee increased 0.6 - 7.5 per cent; some products in this category decreased slightly and others remained unchanged.

Comparing the prices in this Ramadan with prices of the previous holy month, it is noted that foodstuff prices recorded a rise. Prices of Kanaad (king fish), Shehri, Siama and Al Ouma fish rise 20.6, 7.7, 10.7 and 17.4 per cent respectively.

In the meat category, prices of fresh lamb, fresh mutton and frozen lamb rose 7.6, 14.5, and 30.1 per cent respectively.

Prices of condensed milk rose 10.4 per cent and powder milk rose 7.6- 17 per cent. Local egg prices rose 3.9-15.3 per cent. Prices of the loose sugar rose 43.6 per cent and loose tea also rose 8.1- 11.9 per cent while tea bags rose 9.1- 9.5 per cent.

The prices of Gaither, Qad and Kover decreased this Ramadan by 25.2, 5.5 and 8.3 per cent respectively. The prices of frozen chicken decreased by 9- 9.4 per cent.

Furthermore, the Sultanate’s total crude oil production rose 8.8 per cent to 129.8 million barrels in the first five months of 2010, compared to 119.3 million barrels in the corresponding period in 2009, according to the data from Ministry of National Economy.

The natural gas production rose 6.1 per cent to 470,644 million cubic feet compared to 443,423mcf during the same period in 2009.

The crude oil production rose 7.9 per cent to 113.7 million barrels and oil condensates rose 15.3 per cent to 16.1 million barrels, the data said. The average daily production of oil increased 8.8 per cent during the period to hit 859,400 bpd.

The average oil price per barrel rose 70.2 8.8 per cent, from $44.84 in 2009 to $76.34 per barrel in 2010.

The Sultanate’s oil exports recorded a remarkable rise of 15.1 per cent at 112.6 million barrels compared to 97.8 million barrels during the same period in 2009. Oil exports to Japan rose 55.5 per cent, while exports to Thailand (20.7 per cent), China (32.1 per cent) and Singapore (94.7 per cent) made huge strides. Exports to South Korea declined 52.1 per cent, while Taiwan exports declined 21.8 per cent.

Chinese oil imports constituted 37 per cent of the total oil exports from the Sultanate at 41.6 million barrels compared to 32.2 per cent during the same period in 2009. Thai imports came in second with 17.2 per cent, followed by Japan (16.4 per cent).

Meanwhile, the Oman Oil and Gas Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, oil and gas associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Oman's oil and gas industry.

The latest Oman Oil & Gas Report from BMI forecasts that the country will account for just 0.64% of Middle East (ME) regional oil demand by 2013, while providing 2.57% of supply.

Regional oil use of 8.24mn barrels per day (b/d) in 2001 rose to 11.25mn b/d in 2008. It should average 11.30mn b/d in 2009 and then rise to around 12.17mn b/d by 2013. Regional oil production was 22.87mn b/d in 2001, and in 2008 averaged 26.29mn b/d. It is set to rise to 28.01mn b/d by 2013. Oil exports are growing steadily, because demand growth is lagging the pace of supply expansion. In 2001, the region was exporting an average 14.63mn b/d. This total had risen to 15.04mn b/d in 2008 and is forecast to reach 15.84mn b/d by 2013. Iraq has the greatest production growth potential, followed by Qatar.

In terms of natural gas, the region in 2008 consumed 391.5bn cubic meters (bum), with demand of 512.8bcm targeted for 2013, representing 31.0% growth. Production of 389.5bcm in 2008 should reach 610.4bcm in 2013 ( 56.7%), which implies net exports rising to 98bcm by the end of the period. In 2008, Oman consumed 3.22% of the region's gas, with its market share forecast at 3.21% by 2013.

It contributed 6.19% to 2008 regional gas production, and by 2013 will account for 5.73% of supply. For 2009 as a whole, we are now assuming an average OPEC basket price of US$55.00 per barrel (bbl), a 41.5% decline year-on-year (y-o-y).

This represents an upgrade from the US$52 forecast we have stuck with during the past three quarters. Our OPEC basket assumption delivers likely Brent, WTI, Urals and Dubai prices of US$56.30, US$57.50, US$55.60 and US$55.60/bbl respectively. For 2010, we expect to see a recovery to US$60.00/bbl for the OPEC price (up from our previous forecast of US$58), gaining further ground to US$65.00 in 2011 and to US$70.00/bbl in 2012. Our post-2010 forecasts are unchanged and we are continuing to use a long-term price assumption of US$70.00 for 2013-2018.

In 2009, BMI is now assuming a global average gasoline price of US$62.12/bbl, with the fuel having peaked in June. The overall y-o-y fall in 2009 gasoline prices is put at 40.0%. The BMI gas oil forecast is for an average price of US$68.62/bbl, assuming a monthly high of US$92.49/bbl in December. The full year outturn represents a 43.4% fall from the 2008 level.

The annual jet price level for 2009 is forecast to be US$65.17/bbl. This compares with US$124.95/bbl in 2008. The 2009 average naphtha price is put by BMI at US$49.06/bbl, down 43.9% from the previous year's level.