Sri Lanka, Oman poised to strengthen economic cooperation with ministerial visit

Wednesday, 8 May 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Bilateral meeting with Oman’s Minister of Oil and Gas Dr. Mohamed Hamed Al Rumhy and officials of  ORPIC


Meeting with Oman’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali Masoud Al Sunaid

Oman is poised to strengthen economic cooperation following a top level Sri Lankan ministerial visit to Muscat last week.

A high-level ministerial delegation comprising Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Highways and Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development Kabir Hashim and Minister of Industry and Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Co-operative Development and Vocational Training and Skills Development Rishad Bathiudeen undertook an official visit to the Sultanate of Oman together with a team of officials from the statutory agencies coming under the purview of the respective ministries for meetings with the Omani counterparts on 5 and 6 May.

The visit was a follow-up to the meetings Oman’s Minister of Oil and Gas Dr. Mohammed Hamed Al Rumhy had with the three Ministers in Sri Lanka in March, during the former’s visit to Sri Lanka as the Guest of Honour at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the green field oil refinery in Hambantota, on the invitation of Minister of Industry and Commerce. 

On 5 May, the delegation was taken on a familiarisation tour to the Sohar Free Zone and Port, where comprehensive presentations were made by the representatives of the Sohar Port Industrial Port company and Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC). 

During the familiarisation tour, the delegation was given a comprehensive briefing of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry of Oman. The delegation had a site visit to the oil refinery and Liwa Plastic Industries Complex which is the new petrochemical complex developed by ORPIC. 

On 6 May, the delegation had official discussions with Oman’s Minister of Oil and Gas Dr. Mohammed Hamed Al Rumhy, Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali Masoud Al Sunaidi and State General Reserve Fund Chief Investment Officer Mulham Al Jarf. 

The meeting with Dr. Rumhy focused on exploring avenues for cooperation in the field of petroleum industry between Sri Lanka and Oman and sharing the experience of Oman in setting up of oil refinery projects in Oman and abroad. 

The Omani Minister reiterated the firm interest of the Oman Oil Company to take part in the Hambantota oil refinery project as an equity partner. The two delegations also discussed on providing training for the staff of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd. in Oman.

At the meeting with Oman’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali Masoud Al Sunaidi, it has been agreed to expedite the process of finalising the Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments between the Government of Sri Lanka and Oman. 

The Omani Minister has also proposed to work towards setting up of a joint commission headed by the Ministers of Industry and Commerce of the two countries to have a broader framework for bilateral cooperation.  At the meeting with Mulham Al Jarf, Chief Investment Officer of the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), which is the sovereign wealth fund as well the main investment arm of the Sultanate, the Sri Lankan side briefed on the investment opportunities in the areas of ports development, fisheries, agriculture, hospitality industry and development of highways. The Omani side expressed their keen interest in exploring the investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and agreed to arrange a visit of an official team from SGRF for discussions with the relevant institutions in mid June 2019. 

The program for the visit to Oman was arranged by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in coordination with the relevant Omani authorities.