The Sultanate of Oman’s inclusion in the Alliance for Industry Decarbonization, a global grouping of some of the world’s biggest industrial conglomerates, bodes well for its positioning as a major player in the future green hydrogen economy, say experts.
Wholly government-owned OQ Group, by far the biggest investor in Oman’s petrochemicals and industrial sector, formally joined the alliance on the sidelines of the COP27 UN Conference on Climate Change underway at Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt last week.
“A big step towards green industrialization! OQ is proud to join the Alliance for Industry Decarbonisation, a global initiative by IRENA and Siemens Energy, which met at #COP27 to accelerate #NetZero targets in the industry sector,” OQ Group noted in a social media post on Sunday, November 13, 2022.
The Alliance, with its secretariat located in the Abu Dhabi headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), is set to play a major role in the decarbonisation of heavy industries currently accounting for a sizable share of emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.
The sector is the second largest emitter of greenhouses gases after power generation, with a share of over 30 per cent, while accounting for 40 per cent of global energy consumption. “Without increased emission reduction efforts within the industrial sector, the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius stays unreachable,” the Alliance warned in a statement.
The Alliance was launched on September 1, 2022 against the backdrop of the G20 Investment Forum on Energy Transition, which took place in Bali, Indonesia. Headed by IRENA with Siemens Energy as co-founding partner, the Alliance signed up global heavyweights Enel Green Power, TAQA Arabia, Eni, Technip Energies, EDF Renewables, JSW, Tata Steel, Sable Chemicals, Tatanga Energy, Repsol, Equinor and TAQA as the other founding members. They adopted the ‘Bali Declaration’ to accelerate net-zero ambitions and the decarbonisation of industrial value chains in pursuit of the Paris Agreement climate goals.
At the Alliance’s maiden meeting, held on the margins of COP27, 13 new leading international firms were coopted as members. Besides OQ Group, the list included the KIS Group, VALE, ATC Development, Subsea7, Elsewedy Electric, FLSmidth, Petronas, Ecopetrol, Unilever, Envision, Alfanar Global Development and Alzahid Group, with State of Green as a new knowledge partner.
Deliberations during the first meeting focused on six pillars and enablers: renewables, green hydrogen, bioenergy with Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), heat process optimisation, human capital, and finance.
As a member of this formidable grouping, OQ Group – and the Sultanate of Oman in general – has the potential to leverage the country’s ambitious plans for a green hydrogen industry to attract investments in low-carbon heavy industries across aluminium, steel, cement, minerals and other hard-to-abate sectors.
The availability of an abundance of green hydrogen in the not-too-distant future, coupled with the presence of well-established grid, pipeline and transport infrastructures, and business-friendly industrial parks, is seen as a major plus in Oman’s favour in attracting international investments in low-carbon heavy industries.