|Cyclone Gonu is tracking toward the coast of Oman. Click to enlarge. Source: India Meteorological Department|
An unusual category 4 tropical cyclone is heading directly for Oman and into the Gulf of Oman. Oman is a significant non-OPEC oil exporter, although its oil production has been declining.
In 2006, Oman produced an estimated 743,000 bbl/d of total oil liquids, about 5% less than 2005 levels according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA forecasts that the Oman’s oil production will continue to decline in 2007 and 2008, with 2008 output dropping to 690,000 bbl/d, or 7% less than 2006 levels.
Oman consumed only 8.6% of the oil it produced in 2006, the remaining 679,000 bbl/d being exported. The country maintains a major oil export terminal at Mina al-Fahal, near the capital Muscat on the northeast coast.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center notes that although the storm had increased intensity, it is showing initial signs of slight weakening as it moves over water with lower heat content. Dry air from the Arabian peninsula and then land effects after landfall on the northeast coast of Oman (Muscat) will weaken the storm further.
Current maximum significant wave height is currently 40 feet, and there is concern about the effects of storm surge on the oil facilities in Muscat. Discussion ongoing at The Oil Drum.