A modern marine bunker terminal has commenced operations at Port of Duqm, significantly enhancing the appeal of the maritime gateway to regional and international shipping.
Set up by Oman Oil Marketing Company (OOMCO) – a subsidiary of OQ (the global integrated energy group of the Sultanate of Oman) – the facility is also designed to support the bunkering requirements of vessels calling at the nearby ship repair yard of Asyad Drydock, the giant crude oil terminal at Ras Markaz just south of Duqm, the Fisheries Port, and ships waiting at anchorage.
“The bunker terminal has been completed and commissioned and is currently active on a soft opening basis,” said Hussain Jamaa Bait Ishaq (pictured), Acting CEO of OOMCO. “Strategically located on Oman’s south-east coast, the new marine fuel terminal will serve the international shipping market given its close proximity to significant shipping traffic accessing the Suez Canal, Arabian Gulf, and Indian Ocean.” In comments to the Observer, Hussain said the facility, constructed with an investment of over RO 10 million, has been built close to the main cargo quays and finger pier of the Port of Duqm – a location that allows for “highly efficient bunker operations and high standards of customer service”.
The terminal’s 30,000 cubic-metre capacity enables the supply of various bunker fuel grades, including very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), marine gasoil (MGO) and higher sulphur fuel oil (HFO). Its flexible design allows for the facility to cater to the low sulphur fuel requirements of ships in line with standards newly mandated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), he noted.
Additionally, a 50,000-litre capacity fuel tank container unit positioned at the end of the finger pier is available for vessels that require smaller quantities of diesel and lower flow rate supply, Hussain stated.
Giving details about the modes of bunkering introduced by the new terminal, the Acting CEO said: “The primary mode of supply to ships will be by bunker barge. The terminal’s delivery system design allows for bunker fuel delivery via ex-pipe (single point) alongside at multi-purpose cargo/project quay, as well as delivery of smaller quantity MGO by road truck, ex-truck directly alongside quay to customer vessels.”
He further added: “Vessels at anchorage can take advantage of a range of high-quality and diverse services, including pilotage, freshwater supply, waste collection, tug services, crew change, de-slopping services, and ship handling, plus ship spares and dry dock services, and, of course, bunker fuel delivery of all grades by bunker barge (ship to ship) alongside the customer vessel at anchorage.”
Bunker fuel products are currently sourced from suppliers in the region, said Hussain, stressing OOMCO’s commitment to localizing its procurements in the future. “We look forward to add Duqm refinery as a valued supplier of high-quality diesel, as soon as the product is available after the completion and commissioning of the refinery,” he stated.
Given its large footprint, ships in the vicinity of Duqm will be able to receive their bunker needs from the terminal, said Hussain. “The bunker service is offered to all calling and passing ships, in-port vessels as well as ships coming to the dry dock and Ras Markaz terminal. Ships can get their fuels according to their requirements and preferred delivery method. The full portfolio of the terminal’s services will benefit vessels by increasing their shipping efficiency and reducing the amount of time lost.” Included in the terminal’s coverage will be developments across the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD).
“The project will offer the benefits of a fishing port, a regional airport, industrial and logistical areas, which is expected to increase international trade and tourism in the future. This development will position the bunker business development at the port in good stead and we are ready to support SEZAD and the Port of Duqm in all their development endeavours,” he added.