$98m Chinese blankets project planned in Duqm SEZ

Muscat: A major blankets and carpets manufacturing project, entailing an investment of around $98 million, is among a slew of early ventures planned by Chinese investors in the ambitious China-Oman Industrial Park currently taking shape at the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Duqm.

The giant plant, envisaging a total of six production lines, will position the Sultanate as a leading manufacturer and supplier of blankets and carpets made from synthetic fibres that are a value-added product associated with the petrochemicals and refining industry.  Raw material for the project will be initially procured from China, but subsequently sourced locally when a world-class downstream petrochemicals industry materialises in the SEZ.

According to Ali Shah, Chairman of Oman Wanfang LLC, the main developer of the China-Oman Industrial Park, the proposed blankets and carpets plant will come up on a 20-hectare site within the Park.  Output is estimated at 12 million pieces of blankets and carpets per annum.

The project is envisioned as a subsidiary of a Chinese investor that already operates a major plant in China’s Shandong Province. “A team of officials from the SEZ Authority of Duqm (SEZAD) had visited the Shandong factory and voiced admiration for the technology used in the manufacturing process. The manufacturer has a prominent trademark and exports its merchandise to markets around the world,” Ali Shah told Duqm Economist, the quarterly newsletter of SEZAD, in a recent interview.

The synthetic fibres constituting the raw material for the project are manufactured only by a handful of countries in the region that possess the requisite technology, says Ali Shah.

Significantly, the blankets project is one of 35 diverse investments – spanning heavy industries, chemicals, petrochemicals, refining, manufacturing, assembly, power & water, and renewables – that are proposed to be established at the China-Oman Industrial Park over the coming years.  These investments will be distributed across three clusters – heavy industries, light industries, and tourism. Investments in Phase 1 of the industrial park are projected at $10.7 billion.

To cater to the energy and industrial water requirements of these projects, Oman Wanfang Company – the master developer – has also reached agreement with SEZAD for the construction of a power plant and a desalination plant at the SEZ, Ali Shah added.