The head of the tenders committee at state-run Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has gone on trial for taking a bribe from two local executives, the Gulf News reported.

A public prosecutor in a court in Muscat accused Juma Al Hinai of receiving the bribe from executives of Galfar Engineering and Contracting.

Hinai has denied the charges.

Mohammad Ali, managing director of Galfar, and Abdul Majeed Nusha are also on trial on charges of paying the bribe. They denied the accusations, the Gulf News said.

The report said the case may be “part of a wider official probe into graft in the oil industry.”

At least one other senior executive is being separately investigated, according to a senior industry official, the Gulf News said.

The prosecutor alleged that Hinai took the bribe in exchange for extending the term of a PDO contract that had been awarded to Galfar in 2011.

The next hearing was set for November 24.

Oman produces about 950,000 barrels per day of crude.

The country is on the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which about 40 percent of the world’s sea-borne oil exports pass, the Gulf News said.

PDO controls most of Oman’s oil reserves and accounts for more than 70 per cent of the country’s crude oil production and nearly all of its natural gas.

It is 60 percent owned by the Government of Oman, with Royal Dutch Shell holding 34 percent, Total 4 percent, and Partex 2 percent.

PDO operates in a concession area of about 100,000 km2 (one third of Oman’s geographical area), has more than 126 producing fields, more than 5,000 producing wells and a workforce of about 6,000 PDO staff and more than 35,000 contractors.


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