Muscat: The Sultanate's average oil production increased 3.8 per cent in 2012 to 918,500 barrels per day compared to a year earlier to boost its annual earnings and wipe out a fiscal deficit, official figures shows. The figures from the Centre of National Statistics showed the government sold its oil at an average price of $109.61 per barrel last year, up 6.5 per cent compared to 2011.
Oman depends heavily on oil revenues and it makes up more than 70 per cent of its earnings. Oil income boosts revenues by 31.6 per cent to OMR13.921 billion in 2012 while its expenditure slightly rose to OMR10.76 billion last year from OMR10.74 billion in 2011, the statistics show.
High oil income resulted to a budget surplus of OMR3.2 billion in 2012. Oman predicted a deficit of OMR1.2 billion for the 2012 budget based on an oil price of $75 per barrel. Finance Minister Darwish Al Balushi told reporters last month that any surplus in 2012 would be included in this year's budget if expenditure exceeded the estimate, to create jobs for nationals.
Darwish last month unveiled a budget with a OMR12.9 billion expenditure and revenues forecast of OMR11.2 billion with a budget deficit estimated at OMR1.7 billion.