A 290 kilometre-long pipeline between Muscat and Sohar for transporting refined petroleum products, which is expected to start operations by mid-2017, will substantially reduce the number of tanker trucks transporting fuel and its cost.
“The pipeline (Muscat Sohar Product Pipeline) is expected to be fully operational by mid-2017. Even though initially the project was conceived in several phases, it was finally decided to fully implement the project. This means that the whole pipeline network, as well as the Al Jifnain Terminal, will be ready simultaneously,” said Andres Suarez, general manager of Orpic Logistics LLC.
The Muscat Sohar Product Pipeline (MSPP) is a strategic project of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries (Orpic), aimed at fulfilling its vision of building an Omani integrated refining and petrochemical business.
Suarez added that presently, many vessel movements arranged by Orpic are transporting oil products between the Sohar and Mina Al Fahal Refineries and through the new pipeline network and due to that transportation will no longer be required. In addition to substituting vessel transportation with pipeline transportation, which is safer and efficient, the elimination of the vessel movements will save $20 million per year for the oil logistics system in Oman.
He further said the new logistics system has been designed with the objective of optimising global costs of transport and distribution of oil products in Oman, including vessels, tankers and power used in the pipelines, irrespective of who bears these costs.
“In this sense, the location of the new storage and distribution terminal in Al Jifnain will optimise the oil products transportation by trucks and this will mean a reduction of approximately 24 per cent of the associated costs, and therefore of the tanker movements.”
In addition to the number of global truck movements, the Al Jifnain Terminal will facilitate reducing the number of trucks circulating in the capital area by 70 per cent, thereby increasing safety on the road.
The Muscat Sohar Product Pipeline and Al Jifnain Terminal project will also enable the connection of Orpic’s Mina Al Fahal Refinery in Muscat and theSohar Refinery with a new storage and distribution terminal located in Jifnain via a bi-directional pipeline network. The pipeline network is split into three sections—MAF–Jifnain Terminal: 45kilometres (10 inches), Jifnain Terminal–Muscat International Airport: 25kilometres (10 inches), and the Sohar–Jifnain Terminal: 220 kilometres (18 inches).
Suarez said MSPP and the Al Jifnain Terminal Project will constitute state-of-the-art control systems with the latest control and automation technology, leak detection, and telecommunication network. It will also be equipped with loading facilities designed to cater to loading more than 500 trucks per day. “This new facility will make a significant change in the way the oil products are delivered to Orpic’s customers.”
“The loading process will be fully automated thereby significantlyreducing the waiting time for trucks drivers at the terminal and increasing the reliability of operations, as well as the security process for drivers and Orpicemployees based in Al Jifnain,” added Suarez.
For bringing the logistics industry efficiency in Oman to the next level, Orpic has established a joint venture company—Orpic Logistics—with the Spanish firm CompaniaLogistica de Hidrocarburos (CLH), which has a long-standing tradition of 90 years in the logistics industry for oil products.
Further, the project will facilitate marketing of additional production, which will be available once the Sohar Refinery Improvement Project enters into stream. The new 18-inch pipeline between the Sohar Refinery and the Al Jifnain Terminal will ease the distribution of oil products along the North coast, which comprises above 50 per cent of oil products in the country.
Another major advantage of MPP is the enhancement of road safety in the capital area. The terminals located in Mina Al Fahal, Muscat supply above 65 per cent of the country´s demand for oil products. This means that many oil tankers are circulating every day in the heart of Muscat making road movement difficult and increasing safety risks within the community. The new Al Jifnain terminal will supply over 50 per cent of the national demand, thereby reducing the heavy tanker traffic in the capital region.
In addition to the above benefits for oil products, this project will also deliver numerous social, economic and environmental benefits, including job growth, logistic efficiencies, higher safety and security standards, and reduced pollution resulting from lower truck movements.