Feasibility studies linked to the planned construction of a major pipeline that will channel natural gas from Saih Nihayda in central Oman to an ambitious industrial hub at Duqm, have been completed, a high-ranking official announced here. Yahya bin Said al Jabri, Chairman of the Special Economic Zone at Duqm, said the 230-km-long pipeline will have a capacity of roughly 25 million cubic metres per day capacity — enough to fuel Duqm’s future power generation needs.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening of the Oman Investment Forum 2012 at Al Bustan Palace — A Ritz Carlton Hotel, he said the 36-inch pipeline project is being undertaken by state-owned Oman Gas Company and is due to be completed during 2015-16. “The project is integral to achieving the aim of feeding natural gas to the power generation, water purification projects and cement plant as well as the refinery and petrochemical complex and feedstock in Duqm,” he added.
The pipeline scheme is one of several infrastructure initiatives being developed by the government with the aim of underpinning Duqm’s development into a “world-class investment and leisure endpoint and a logistics hub”, Al Jabri said. “The government has embarked on a massive plan of initiating a dedicated free economic zone at Duqm to serve as a predominant economic growth engine, to act as a catalyst to the country in general and to Wusta Governorate in particular, and to become the spearhead in accelerating the transformation of its economic growth model,” he stated.
The Special Economic Zone at Duqm, he pointed out, will be utilised to bring a sustainable environment for foreign and domestic direct investment and to build targeted industries aimed at developing strategic industrial capabilities and industrial zones and will provide the “blueprint for the country’s economic rebirth”. “Therefore, the Special Economic Zone at Duqm is one of the most critical instruments that can be used to advance the government’s strategic objectives within the broader framework of accelerating industrial development, regional development, job generation and pushing economic diversification further.” With a major port having commenced ‘early operations’, attention is now focused on the design and construction of a liquid berth within the port, he said.
“The implementation of this project is moving ahead in line with the construction of Duqm Oil Refinery in order to provide it with the required facilities for the import of crude oil and the export of processed products,” Al Jabri said. A site for the Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Complex has been earmarked, the official said, adding that financial alignments between the JV developing the $6 billion venture — state-owned Oman Oil Company and IPIC of Abu Dhabi — already approved. Refined products from the 230,000 barrels per day heavy crude refinery will be mostly targeted for export to Asia, Europe and the Middle East, he added. Infrastructure and utility development will be integral to the goal of transforming the Duqm SEZ into a “competitive socio-economic platform with world-class facilities and social infrastructure to make it a preferred place to live and work”.