Oman

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Oman
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Oman
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Map of Oman
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Photos of Oman
 
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OF OMAN
 

Introduction

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The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew the restrictive rule of his father; he has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries. Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa in 2010-11, Omanis began staging marches and demonstrations to demand economic benefits, an end to corruption, and greater political rights. In February and March 2011, in response to protester demands, QABOOS pledged to create more government jobs and promised to implement economic and political reforms, such as granting legislative and regulatory powers to the Council of Oman and the introduction of unemployment benefits. Also in March, the Gulf Cooperation Council pledged $20 billion in financial aid to Oman and Bahrain over a 10-year period to assist the two nations in their struggle with Arab protests. Amid concessions made to oppositionists, the government during the summer continued to crack down on protests and demonstrations, and increasingly clamped down on the media. In October 2011, QABOOS issued a royal decree expanding the legislative powers of the Council of Oman to amend and approve draft legislation.
 
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Geography

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Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE
 
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21 00 N, 57 00 E
 
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total: 309,500 sq km
country comparison to the world: 71
land: 309,500 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than Kansas
 
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total: 1,374 km
border countries: Saudi Arabia 676 km, UAE 410 km, Yemen 288 km
 
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2,092 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south
 
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central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south
 
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lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal Shams 2,980 m
 
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petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas
 
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arable land: 0.12%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 99.74% (2005)
 
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590 sq km (2008)
 
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1 cu km (1997)
 
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total: 1.36 cu km/yr (7%/2%/90%)
per capita: 529 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts
 
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rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural freshwater resources
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
 
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People and Society

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noun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani
 
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Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African
 
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Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
 
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Ibadhi Muslim 75%, other (includes Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim, Hindu) 25%
 
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3,027,959 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
note: includes 577,293 non-nationals
 
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0-14 years: 31.2% (male 484,292/female 460,066)
15-64 years: 65.7% (male 1,133,329/female 856,701)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 47,786/female 45,785) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 24.1 years
male: 25.5 years
female: 22.4 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.023% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
 
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24.15 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
 
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3.45 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
 
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-0.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
 
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urban population: 73% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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MUSCAT (capital) 634,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.34 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female
total population: 1.23 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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20 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 126
 
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total: 15.47 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 116
male: 15.78 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 74.22 years
country comparison to the world: 105
male: 72.38 years
female: 76.16 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.87 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
 
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3% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 178
 
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1.901 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 69
 
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1.9 beds/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 103
 
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improved:
urban: 92% of population
rural: 77% of population
total: 88% of population
unimproved:
urban: 8% of population
rural: 23% of population
total: 12% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 97% of population
rural: 61% of population
total: 87% of population
unimproved:
urban: 3% of population
rural: 39% of population
total: 13% of population (2000)
 
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0.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
 
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1,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
 
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fewer than 100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
 
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3.9% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 108
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.4%
male: 86.8%
female: 73.5% (2003 census)
 
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total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 11 years (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman
conventional short form: Oman
local long form: Saltanat Uman
local short form: Uman
former: Muscat and Oman
 
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monarchy
 
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name: Muscat
geographic coordinates: 23 37 N, 58 35 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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5 regions (manatiq, singular - mintaqat) and 4 governorates* (muhafazat, singular - muhafazat) Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah, Al Buraymi*, Al Wusta, Ash Sharqiyah, Az Zahirah, Masqat (Muscat)*, Musandam*, Zufar (Dhofar)*
 
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1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)
 
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Birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November (1940)
 
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none; note - on 6 November 1996, Sultan QABOOS issued a royal decree promulgating a basic law considered by the government to be a constitution which, among other things, clarifies the royal succession, provides for a prime minister, bars ministers from holding interests in companies doing business with the government, establishes a bicameral legislature, and guarantees basic civil liberties for Omani citizens
 
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mixed legal system of Anglo-Saxon law and Islamic law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military and security forces are not allowed to vote
 
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chief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972); note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister QABOOS bin Said Al-Said (sultan since 23 July 1970 and prime minister since 23 July 1972)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary
 
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bicameral Majlis Oman consists of Majlis al-Dawla or upper chamber (71 seats; members appointed by the monarch; has only advisory powers and Majlis al-Shura or lower chamber (84 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms; body has only advisory powers)
elections: last held on 27 October 2007 (next to be held in October 2011)
election results: new candidates won 46 seats and 38 members of the outgoing Majlis kept their positions; none of the 20 female candidates was elected
 
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Supreme Court
note: the nascent civil court system, administered by region, has judges who practice secular and sharia law
 
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none
 
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none
 
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ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Hunaina bint Sultan bin Ahmad al-MUGHAIRI
chancery: 2535 Belmont Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-1980
FAX: [1] (202) 745-4933
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Richard J. SCHMIERER
embassy: Jameat A'Duwal Al Arabiya Street, Al Khuwair area, Muscat
mailing address: P. O. Box 202, P.C. 115, Madinat Sultan Qaboos, Muscat
telephone: [968] 24-643-400
FAX: [968] 24-699771
 
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three horizontal bands of white, red, and green of equal width with a broad, vertical, red band on the hoist side; the national emblem (a khanjar dagger in its sheath superimposed on two crossed swords in scabbards) in white is centered near the top of the vertical band; white represents peace and prosperity, red recalls battles against foreign invaders, and green symbolizes the Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountains) and fertility
 
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Khanjar dagger superimposed on two crossed swords
 
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name: "Nashid as-Salaam as-Sultani" (The Sultan's Anthem)
lyrics/music: Rashid bin Uzayyiz al KHUSAIDI/James Frederick MILLS, arranged by Bernard EBBINGHAUS
note: adopted 1932; new words were written after QABOOS bin Said al Said gained power in 1970; the anthem was first performed by the band of a British ship as a salute to the Sultan during a 1932 visit to Muscat; the bandmaster of the HMS Hawkins was asked to write a salutation to the Sultan on the occasion of his visiting the ship
 
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Economy

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Oman is a middle-income economy that is heavily dependent on dwindling oil resources. Because of declining reserves, Muscat has actively pursued a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization, with the objective of reducing the oil sector's contribution to GDP to 9% by 2020. Tourism and gas-based industries are key components of the government's diversification strategy. By using enhanced oil recovery techniques, Oman succeeded in increasing oil production, giving the country more time to diversify, and the increase in global oil prices throughout 2010 provides the government greater financial resources to invest in non-oil sectors.
 
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$75.84 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$72.77 billion (2009 est.)
$71.98 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$55.62 billion (2010 est.)
 
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4.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
1.1% (2009 est.)
12.9% (2008 est.)
 
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$25,600 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
$25,000 (2009 est.)
$25,200 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 1.6%
industry: 51%
services: 47.5% (2010 est.)
 
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968,800
country comparison to the world: 142
note: about 60% of the labor force is non-national (2007)
 
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agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
 
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15% (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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29.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
 
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revenues: $20.59 billion
expenditures: $20.71 billion (2010 est.)
 
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37% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
 
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-0.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
 
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4% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
5.4% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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3.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
3.5% (2009 est.)
 
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2% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
0.05% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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6.835% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
7.442% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$53.08 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
$45.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$71.42 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
$63.16 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$21.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
$19.34 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$20.27 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 61
$17.3 billion (31 December 2009)
$14.91 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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dates, limes, bananas, alfalfa, vegetables; camels, cattle; fish
 
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crude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber
 
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4.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
 
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17.63 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
 
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13.25 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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867,900 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
 
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142,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
 
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592,300 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
 
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27,970 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
 
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5.5 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
 
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24.76 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
 
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14.72 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
 
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11.54 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
 
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1.5 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
 
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849.5 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
 
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$2.007 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
-$603 million (2009 est.)
 
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$36.6 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
$27.65 billion (2009 est.)
 
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petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles
 
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China 26.3%, South Korea 12.4%, Japan 12.1%, India 11.3%, UAE 10.8%, Thailand 6.6% (2010)
 
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$17.87 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
$16.05 billion (2009 est.)
 
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machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants
 
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UAE 25.1%, Japan 15.4%, India 5.6%, US 5.5%, China 4.7% (2010)
 
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$13.03 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
$12.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$7.921 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
$7.169 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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$NA
 
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Omani rials (OMR) per US dollar -
0.3845 (2010)
0.3845 (2009)
0.3845 (2008)
0.3845 (2007)
0.3845 (2006)
 
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Communications

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283,900 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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4.606 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 105
 
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general assessment: modern system consisting of open-wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable; domestic satellite system with 8 earth stations
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership both increasing with fixed-line phone service gradually being introduced to remote villages using wireless local loop systems
international: country code - 968; the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat (2008)
 
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1 state-run TV broadcaster; TV stations transmitting from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen are accessible via satellite TV; state-run radio operates multiple stations; first private radio station began operation in 2007 and 2 additional stations now operating (2007)
 
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.om
 
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9,114 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 126
 
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1.465 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 83
 
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Transportation

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130 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 44
 
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total: 11
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 119
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 51
914 to 1,523 m: 33
under 914 m: 26 (2010)
 
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3 (2010)
 
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condensate 107 km; gas 4,209 km; oil 3,558 km; refined products 263 km (2010)
 
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total: 53,430 km
country comparison to the world: 78
paved: 23,223 km (includes 1,384 km of expressways)
unpaved: 30,207 km (2008)
 
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total: 4
country comparison to the world: 134
by type: chemical tanker 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 2
registered in other countries: 9 (Panama 8, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2010)
 
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Mina' Qabus, Salalah, Suhar
 
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Military

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Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF): Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat) (2010)
 
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18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 985,957
females age 16-49: 737,812 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 837,886
females age 16-49: 642,427 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 31,959
female: 30,264 (2010 est.)
 
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11.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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Transnational Issues

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boundary agreement reportedly signed and ratified with UAE in 2003 for entire border, including Oman's Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah exclave, but details of the alignment have not been made public
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