A view of Petroleum Development of Oman (PDO) near Muscat. Image Credit: REUTERS

Muscat: Omani nationals who have been laid off of their jobs in the oil and gas sector have been reinstated, Salim Al Auwfi, Undersecretary of the Oil and Gas Ministry said.

He also said future lay offs have been cancelled as companies have been urged to absorb more Omani nationals. Companies are now studying ways to bear the financial burden of the oil price slump without firing Omanis.

Over 1,600 Omanis have lost their jobs in recent weeks by contracting companies citing the slump in oil prices for revenue losses. 65 per cent of workers in the oil and gas sector are Omanis, unlike its counterparts in the GCC where nationals only make up 5 per cent of the workforce in the sector.

Oil and gas trade unions have called off a strike scheduled on November 18 after they say they received substantial assurances from negotiators in the sector.

It is legal to unionise in Oman, but strikes in the oil and gas sector are actually illegal because the country’s economy is largely dependent upon it.

There are more than 20,000 Omanis working in the oil and gas sector. There are also 25 operating trade unions in the sector.

More than 2,000 families have been affected as many Omanis who are the sole breadwinners have lost their jobs.

Oman produces 980,000 barrels of oil per day.