Oman’s Imperishable Energy Trade: Pearl of the Maritime Silk Road


  • Oman has played a historic role in the maritime silk road. Oman has been able to leverage its trade relations throughout the country’s history.
  • The great advantage that Oman has had is that it found it less challenging to traverse goods across such a vast space of open ocean. In addition, the energy resources available from within Oman are a stepping stone to push development forward.
  • Oman maintains close trade relations with its neighbors and is a unique center not only for trade in hydrocarbons, oil and gas. Oman is also known for its cultural significance and activities. This also applies to the cultural field, in which Oman is very successful.


Oman has been a key player in the maritime energy trade for an incredibly long time. Oman’s coastal cities, particularly Muscat, have played an important role as distributors of goods across the Indian Ocean. Oman’s location on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean gives it the opportunity to trade with the interior and countries along the Persian Gulf.

In a sense, Oman is in the middle of trade networks with the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, East Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia. Through the Indian Ocean, Oman can reach far-flung places like Southeast Asia and the booming metropolises in Southeast Asia like Singapore. This greatly facilitates international energy trade and the export of oil and gas. This is not to say that Oman is limited to only trading hydrocarbons. But Oman is quite capable of facilitating trade in oil and gas.  Port cities such as Muscat are suited to participate in global energy trade because of the natural characteristics of the port basin.

The rugged terrain in many parts of Oman, though not everywhere, does not necessarily lend itself to the export of large quantities of agricultural products. The coastal plains do provide links to easily navigable sea routes. The ease of traffic on the sea routes allows rapid progress to the remotest parts of the Indian Ocean, where other goods are traded and exchanged. In this region, trade is increasing and the gross national product is growing.


Due to its geographical location, Oman is in a position to attract investment. Of particular interest could be the development of port infrastructure and related expansion. All of this would help boost trade in the Indian Ocean, where global energy supply chains are concentrated. Muscat immediately comes to mind, but other locations are also attractive.

Oman could also be well positioned to become even more a center of downstream business if it wants to develop in that direction. More specifically, the refining business, which would add value as part of a broader economic diversification.


  • Oman will remain a major player in the region and has the opportunity to not only become a major producer of hydrocarbon fuels, but is also able to trade oil and gas as a middleman in global energy markets.
  • This is a huge advantage that Oman has over other countries in the region that are more limited in international energy trade due to their geographic location, such as the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.
  • Saudi Arabia is not in such a difficult position geographically. In fact, Saudi Arabia may be able to trade larger volumes through its Red Sea ports. As a transit point, Oman could facilitate energy trade in and out of the Persian Gulf.
  • Oman’s greatest advantage has always been – and will continue to be for the foreseeable future – its trade links and easy access to global trade. In the specific case of existing trade relations, this means that energy trade networks are important to drive economic growth.

Many thanks for the shared interest in the energy world!

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