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Work on Oman’s first mega green energy project to commence shortly

Fast-track: Investment in Green Hydrogen & Chemicals Company’s scheme at Duqm SEZ to rise to $6 – 7bn across two phases
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An Indian-Norwegian joint venture developing the first green hydrogen project in the Sultanate of Oman envisions investments rising to a total of around $6 – 7 billion when both phases of the mega phases are fully operational at Duqm in Al Wusta Governorate.

Green Hydrogen and Chemicals Company (GHC), a joint venture between the UK unit of Indian energy developer ACME Group and Norway-based Scatec ASA, a leading renewable energy solutions provider, recently signed a land usufruct agreement with the Omani Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ) to develop the first phase of a green hydrogen and ammonia project in the Duqm SEZ.

Phase 1, set on an area of 12 square kilometres, targets the production of 100,000 metric tonnes per annum of green ammonia. But output is anticipated to grow 12-fold to around 1.2 million metric tonnes annually when a second phase is added and brought into operation – an expansion that will necessitate a proportionately large ramp-up in renewable power generation capacity, and overall investment, according to a key project official.

Rajat Seksaria, CEO, ACME Group, said the JV, while currently focused on the delivery of the first phase, also has its sights on planning the groundwork for the much larger second phase.

“Phase 1 production is about 300 tonnes of hydrogen per day powered by 500 MW of solar power. And we are having discussions with the authorities for Phase 2, with a capacity of around 1.1 million tonnes, requiring around 5 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity. The investment will be in multiple billion dollars - probably around 6 - 7 billion dollars, depending upon how it’s scaled in Phase 2,” Seksaria noted.

Earlier, Manoj Upadhyay, Chairman & Founder, ACME Group, said the JV was also committed to getting started with the implementation of the landmark project – effectively making it the first green hydrogen scheme to take off in the Sultanate of Oman.

Speaking at the land usufruct agreement signing, he said the project team, having already readied the full design, is now gearing up to implement the scheme on the ground in Duqm SEZ.

“In fact, most of the long lead items, like building the storage, compressor and other activities, we were able to place the order well in advance,” Upadhyay said.

Citing the non-availability of a contractor globally with integrated experience in the delivery of a green hydrogen project, he pledged ACME Group’s support in the development of local capabilities in Oman.

“We are building a local supply chain with the local companies so they can be trained in the future (to think about the) many new projects which will be coming to these parts,” Upadhyay said.

Significantly, an offtake agreement covering the green ammonia output from the Duqm scheme is expected to be signed soon, said Upadhyay, noting that it would be the “world’s first offtake agreement” of its kind.

According to Seksaria, as many as 11 international consultancy firms are currently assisting in the development of the project which, besides solar farms, electrolysers and ammonia plants, will also include a dedicated desalination plant for the production of pure water, and nitrogen capture facilities for ammonia production. The same template will be used to build out phase two of the project, he pointed out.

Actual work on the project will commence on the ground in Duqm SEZ during July or August 2022, he added.

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