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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Oman targets 15 – 20 year energy transition window

Robust commitment: Sultanate pledges resolve in embracing green hydrogen as part of decarbonisation strategy
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The Sultanate of Oman has a roughly 15 – 20-year window to achieve a transition to a greener energy alternative, like hydrogen, before anticipated shortfalls in natural gas supply begin posing a challenge for gas-dependent local industries, a top Omani government official stressed here on Tuesday.


Eng Salim bin Nasser al Aufi (pictured), Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, also emphasized that a transition from traditional fossil fuels, which have long bankrolled the domestic economy, to green hydrogen is a climate change imperative for the country, as well as the wider world.


Affirming his strong personal, as well as the Omani government’s, commitment to embracing green hydrogen as the sustainable energy alternative to fossil fuels, Al Aufi said: “I’m a very strong believer of hydrogen; those who know me know how much passion I have for the subject. Some may see me to be overly optimistic and too passionate. I have a lot of passion for Green Hydrogen, but I believe Blue Hydrogen could be a transition to get us to Green Hydrogen. Still, Green Hydrogen is the future of energy as we know it.”


Delivering the keynote address at the opening of the Green Hydrogen Summit Oman (GHSO), which began at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) on Tuesday, the Under-Secretary also noted the country’s resolve to press ahead with the pursuit of Green Hydrogen.


“I don’t think traditional hydrocarbons are going to last for too long,” he warned. “We may not be running out of hydrocarbons, but we will be running out of the appetite to continue consuming these beautiful molecules that got us to where we are today. And I strongly believe this is going to be the case, whether in 10, 15 or 20 years – it’s anybody guess -- but what is important is that we are on a transition journey. The genie is out of the bottle and he is not going back!”


Thus, in addition to the likelihood of a shortfall in gas supplies that may impact existing industries sometime in the near future, prospects for new energy-dependent industrial investments will also remain dim going forward, Al Aufi said. “So we have no option but to start thinking of what the next best energy alternative is, which is hydrogen,” he stated.


In support of this national objective, the Ministry is working hard with partners from different parts of the world – governments, public and private sector organisations and other stakeholders – to explore collaboration in a number of key areas, such as certification of hydrogen fuels, technology transfer, capability building and In-Country Value (ICV) development, he said.


The Ministry, for its part, is also focused on its own set of deliverables. Besides formulating rules and regulations to support a future green hydrogen industry, the Ministry is also working with fellow government departments in ensuring that potential investors get suitable land and other incentives to help them get started with the green ventures.


Also driving the country’s decarbonisation agenda is the Sultanate of Oman’s commitment to decarbonisation in line with its Paris Accord obligations, he said.


“We all have an obligation to contribute to make the environment better, safer and healthier for future generations. I want my grandkids to grow in an environment that is liveable and not one that is toxic that we created because of our hunger for unclean energy. It got us to where we are today, and we should be thankful for that, and what we need to start doing seriously is to transition out of it to something more clean and sustainable,” he added.


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