Given the very modest scale of Oman’s hydrocarbons resources (only around five billion barrels of estimated proved oil reserves, barely the 22nd largest in the world) compared to those of many of its neighbours, it has long focussed on building a presence in the higher-value petrochemicals industry. This has not come without its own risks, as building up a petchems presence requires a lot of upfront spending ahead of being able to generate returns further down the line. As such, the Sultanate has been subject to various cash crises over recent years and to frequent downgrades, most recently by Moody’s Investors Service, to Ba3 – three levels down into non-investment (junk) status – and just before that by S&P Global Ratings’ to BB-, with a negative outlook. Nonetheless, positive announcements last week on the Duqm Refinery indicate that Oman is nearing the endgame on this flagship project. Last week […]