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    Duqm project to put Oman on global petrochemicals map

    The multibillion dollar petrochemicals complex envisaged downstream of the Duqm Refinery in Duqm’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will position the Sultanate as a leading producer of niche commodities for the global market, according to a key official of Oman Oil & Orpic Group, which is major investor in the mammoth refinery and petchem development.

    Hilal al Kharusi (pictured), Executive Managing Director – Oman Oil Duqm Development Company, said the petrochemicals scheme will also unlock further value from Oman’s natural resources and open up the potential for investments in value-added processing industries, thereby driving employment and economic growth as well.

    Duqm project to put Oman on global petrochemicals map

    “When we started our petrochemicals industry back in 2006, we were producing 6 – 7 different commodities, which were distributed across the world, mainly to markets in Asia and Europe, with some products reaching the United States as well,” said Al Kharusi.

    “We will add another 7 – 8 different products from Duqm Petrochemicals in 2025, effectively enabling Oman to provide the market with niche products. These will complement the petrochemicals from our sister company, Oxea, which has oxo-chemical manufacturing plants in Germany and the US. Consequently, we will have a nice portfolio of petrochemicals that will position Oman well on the global market.”

    The official made the comments during a panel discussion held as part of the Oman Economic, Industrial & Free Zone summit (OEFZS 2019) earlier this week. The two-day forum was hosted by Ithraa and Free Zone Watch.

    The Sultanate’s burgeoning petrochemicals industry, said Al Kharusi, will help meet the escalating needs of the global petrochemicals sector, which is growing at an average 8 per cent per annum. The total value of the global petchem industry reached around $550 billion as of end 2018, and is projected to reach $980 billion in 2025, he noted. Also attesting to the strength and appeal of Oman’s petrochemicals industry is the ease with which Oman Oil and Orpic Group – the main investor in this sector – continues to get funding for its projects from international lending institutions.

    This is further underscored by the fact that Duqm Refinery, which achieved financial close last December – the largest financing in the Sultanate, was oversubscribed. “This encourages us to move forward with our investment strategy for the petrochemicals industry,” he said.

    However, while Oman Oil & Orpic Group is focused on the development of large-scale petrochemical ventures, there is still plenty of opportunity for small and medium investors to look at downstream and ancillary projects that would add value to Oman’s natural resources, said Al Kharusi. He stressed in this regard the need for a national strategy to enable small and medium investors to take advantage of the huge volumes of feedstock that will become available in the country when the Duqm Petrochemicals project comes on stream in 2025.

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