MUSCAT, DEC 23 – Innovation Park Muscat (IPM), an ambitious technology-driven R&D hub under development in Al Khoudh in Muscat Governorate, is urging local and international energy companies — encompassing both conventional and renewables based — to use the emerging hub as a base for its research and development activities. Dr Abdulbaqi al Khabori, Director of Science & Technology Parks at The Research Council (TRC), said the upcoming Science Park is ideally positioned to serve as a base for all manner of R&D activities, most notably in the energy sector.
“Energy — spanning both Oil & Gas and renewables — has been identified as one of several specialisations that Oman will require to build over the next 20 years,” said Dr Al Khabori. “Through initiatives like the Innovation Park Muscat, we think Oman has the capability to make a difference and make an impact on R&D in this particular sector. We encourage international companies that already have operations in Oman, as well as entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in R&D for the development of new technologies, to use the IPM as a base.”
Billed as the first ‘Science Park’ of its kind in the Sultanate, the Innovation Park Muscat has been conceived as an R&D cluster with a primary focus on four key areas that hold significance for Oman as a nation and as a future leader in global innovation. These thrust areas are: Energy (with special focus on Enhanced Oil Recovery and renewable energy development), Food & Biotechnology (with emphasis on the potential application of biotechnology in food production and processing), Water & Environment (focusing on groundwater conservation and seawater desalination), and Health (developing solutions for national healthcare issues).
Phase 1 of the sprawling hub, which will cover an area of 540,000 sq metres when fully rolled out, is currently under development. When operational, this initial phase will house a cluster of three buildings as well as substantial incubation space for new start-ups.
As a Science Park, the hub will also be open to smaller players as well, said Dr Al Khabori. “We are also targeting entrepreneurs from start-ups and SMEs, as well as big international companies to invest in R&D in Oman. As a science park, our role is to fill the gap between academic, where knowledge is created, and industry — where knowledge is utitlised.”
Underscoring the hub’s early appeal, the Oman Institute for Oil & Gas (instOG), a joint-venture between Takatuf Oman — the human capital development arm of Oman Oil Company (OOC) — and Schlumberger, a leading global provider of oil and gas contracting services, has set up operations at the Innovation Park Muscat. The state-of-the-art institute is dedicated to training and equipping engineers and geoscientists with the skills to develop, optimise and sustain Oman’s oil and gas resources. Local oilfield technology firm Enhanced Oil Recovery LLC (EOR), which specializes in optimizing EOR recovery in heavy oil fields, has also signed an agreement to establish a presence at the Park.