An international consortium behind the proposed development of a green ammonia project in Salalah in Dhofar Governorate plans to invest around $1 billion in the implementation of the world-scale clean energy venture.
Led by OQ – the global integrated energy group of the Sultanate of Oman – the so-called ‘SalalaH2’ project envisions the decarbonisation of OQ’s existing ammonia plant in Salalah and its integrated into a wider complex of facilities that will include, among other things, 1 GW of solar and wind based renewable energy capacity, and 400 MW of electrolyser capacity to produce green hydrogen and other green products.
Besides OQ, partners in the SalalaH2 project include Japanese trading and investment business conglomerate Marubeni Corporation, global multinational chemical engineering company Linde and UAE-based diversified business house Dutco. In October, the consortium members signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) for the implementation of the scheme at Salalah Free Zone.
But in an update on the venture presented recently by two key project executives, it was revealed that the SalalaH2 scheme will also lead to the creation of a new export hub for green ammonia and other green products from Salalah in the far south of the Sultanate of Oman. In effect, Salalah will eventually complement Duqm on the country’s southeast coast and Suhar on the Sea of Oman coast as green energy production and export hubs as well.
Salalah has all of the key ingredients necessary to support green hydrogen and green ammonia production, according to Juman al Saqlawi, SalalaH2 Project Lead at OQ’s Alternative Energy Unit.
“Salalah, and Dhofar in general, is a region with exceptional conditions, with wind speeds of over 10 metres per second, and like the rest of Oman, has world-class solar PV conditions. Moreover, Salalah has an existing free zone with infrastructure that comes with it; It also has a modern and well-connected port, and most importantly, Salalah has an existing ammonia plant of OQ.” Speaking at the Green Hydrogen Summit Oman (GHSO) held in the city recently, she said the proposed SalalaH2 project will be integrated with OQ’s Salalah Cluster currently hosting an LPG extraction plant and a methanol project, besides the ammonia plant. All three projects currently depend on natural gas as the initial feedstock for their operations.
According to Rudolphe Kotliar, Business Development Manager at Linde Clean Energy, the integration of the existing ammonia plant with new renewable energy capacity and green hydrogen production components will result in green products emerging from Salalah.
“Thus, in addition to the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia based on renewables, we will also have 100 per cent green energy and accordingly 100 per cent green products. Renewable energy will also be supplied to the air separation units to produce green nitrogen that will be mixed with ammonia. Likewise, water production will be based on renewable energy, thus making green water. Oxygen output will be integrated into the process as well,” he said.
In the upshot, the grey ammonia currently being produced by the existing ammonia plant based on natural gas will be decarbonized to produce green ammonia – a process envisioned to take place over several years. Upon the completion of this process, all of OQ Ammonia’s 1,000 metric tons/day capacity of grey ammonia will become green, at which point the export of grey ammonia from Salalah will cease, he noted.
At the same time, the consortium will explore opportunities for the use of green hydrogen from the SalalaH2 project in local industry and mobility applications. Longer term, the potential to liquefy and export green hydrogen will be studied as well, he stated.
“Given the presence of an ammonia plant makes us believe that Salalah will become the first exporter of green ammonia in the Sultanate of Oman, Kotliar added.