Oman to start general cargo operations at newly-opened Port of Duqm

HIGHLIGHTS

Port to have three berths for general, bulk and Ro-Ro cargo

Facility s located in free zone where energy projects are under construction

Port of Duqm is a 50:50 JV between Oman, Consortium Antwerp Port

Oman is set to start general cargo operations at the newly-opened Port of Duqm on the southeast coast of the sultanate, which wants to turn the facility into a global trade hub that is adjacent to a number of energy projects.

Oman’s Asyad Group will operate and manage three berths for cargo operations at the facility, the Port of Duqm Co. said on twitter on Feb. 20. The Port of Duqm is a 50:50 joint venture between Oman and Consortium Antwerp Port.

One berth is a general cargo facility with the capacity to handle 1 million mt/year, a second is a bulk cargo berth with a capacity of 5 million mt/year and the third one is a Ro-Ro vehicles berth.

The Port of Duqm, which was officially inaugurated in February, extends over an area of 188 sq km and consists of 9 berths that are 2.25 km long, 350 m wide, and up to 18 m deep.

Oman’s cargo volumes increased 9% on the year to 77.1 million mt in 2021 while container throughput rose 2% to 5.2 million TEUs, despite the pandemic and global supply chain constraints, the transport ministry said Feb. 12.

Duqm crude storage

The Special Economic Zone of Duqm, where the port is located, is the site of several energy infrastructure projects under development and construction, including a refinery, a crude storage facility and a hydrogen project.

The Ras Markaz crude storage outside the strategic Strait of Hormuz will come onstream by the end of the second quarter of 2022 with an initial capacity of 26.7 million barrels, which could be later increased depending on demand from investors, state-run Oman News Agency reported Dec. 29, 2021, citing an official.

Infrastructure to store crude at Ras Markaz in Duqm is already complete, Salim al-Hashmi, project general manager at developer Oman Tank Terminal Co. told the news agency.

Oman, the Middle East’s biggest oil producer outside OPEC, exports its crude via the Mina al Fahal terminal in the Gulf of Oman, but having a second export facility at Ras Markaz can help the country deal with surplus production, officials told Duqm Economist Magazine in a quarterly issue in July 2021.

The storage park also can be a source of oil from Duqm refinery, which will be connected to the facility with an 80-km long pipeline and eight tanks built to store the refinery’s crude.

The 230,000-b/d Duqm refinery is a 50:50 joint venture between state-owned energy company OQ and Kuwait Petroleum International (Q8), called Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Co. (OQ8).

Aramco agreements

The trading arm of Saudi Aramco signed an agreement with OQ in December 2021 to explore the potential supply of feedstock to the Duqm refinery and petrochemical project.

Both companies may expand the scope of the MOU to include renewables, waste stream, green ammonia as well as green hydrogen, according to OQ.

Duqm refinery is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2023, the head of project management at the facility Yousuf Al-Jahdhami told ONA Oct. 30, 2021, as the Gulf country seeks to process crudes other than its own.

Construction of the refinery is 87% complete, Al-Jahdhami told the agency at the time. The refinery will mainly produce diesel, jet fuel, naphtha and LPG, he said.

The refinery, which will be built at a cost of over $8 billion, has faced numerous delays since construction started in 2018.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the biggest petrochemical maker in the Middle East that is 70% owned by Saudi Aramco, and OQ also signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2021 to study the development of a petrochemical project in the Duqm free zone.

Uniper is joining Oman’s Hyport Duqm renewable hydrogen project to provide engineering services and negotiate an exclusive offtake agreement for green ammonia from the facility, the German energy company said July 19, 2021.