MUSCAT, MAY 13 – The Port of Duqm says it is awaiting the government’s thumbs-up before it can get started with the development of waterfront facilities necessary to support the implementation of Oman’s maiden power project based on clean coal technology in the Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ). According to Duqm Port CEO Reggy Vermeulen, the port is working closely with the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), which is overseeing the procurement of the coal-power project, in understanding the specifics of any portside infrastructure that would need to be put in place to help ensure the smooth operation of the landmark venture.
“Once we receive confirmation from the SEZ Authority of Duqm (SEZAD) and the Ministry of Transport and Communication, that the coal power project is going ahead, the Port of Duqm will be ready and able to accommodate a Coal Terminal to support this project,” said Vermeulen. “We have the capacity to do it, and our intention is to dedicate a special area within the port to handle this kind of cargo — coal being a commodity that should not mix with other bulk minerals being handled at the port.”
State-owned OPWP, part of Nama Group (formerly The Electricity Holding Company), has launched a competitive process for the development of the Sultanate’s first electricity project, based on clean-coal technology — part of an effort by the government to ease the nation’s dependence on natural gas as the principal fuel resource for power generation.
A Request for Qualifications (RfQ) floated by OPWP in this regard specifies a requirement of 1,200 MW of generation capacity based on clean coal technology to be developed in Duqm. Depending upon the strength of investor interest in the project, among other considerations, the Authority for Electricity Regulation is expected to take a final decision on whether or not to proceed with coal-based generation sometime in September-October this year, it is learnt. If however given the green-light, coal-based generation capacity in the Sultanate could be ramped up to 3,000 MW by 2024, OPWP says.
According to Vermeulen, the proposed coal terminal — once approved for development — will likely be established in the second basin of the port. One option being considered for the transportation of the coal to the proposed site of the coal power plant located north of the port is to have it trucked. Alternatively, an enclosed conveyor belt system extending all the way to the site may be installed, he said.
Meanwhile, Duqm Port is gearing up to receive several hundred thousand tons of project cargo and other equipment linked to the $7 billion Duqm Refinery project, the groundbreaking of which was marked last month.
“We are working closely with Duqm Refinery, as well as the EPC contractors undertaking its execution, to earmark dedicated quay walls for the discharge of refinery-related project cargo,” said the CEO.
“As the port has been designed for the handling of heavy pieces of equipment, as demonstrated during the implementation of BP’s Khazzan project, over-sized structures can be fabricated overseas and conveniently unloaded at Duqm.
A temporary laydown area within the port is being allotted as well. Our goal is make sure there is no delay in the unloading of ships, while all cargoes are delivered to site in a seamless manner in accordance with schedules for the timely delivery and commissioning of the refinery project.”