A high-level delegation from the German state of Bavaria – billed as an economic powerhouse of Europe – recently visited the Sultanate of Oman to explore the potential for cooperation in the emerging green hydrogen economy.
The 29-member delegation, comprising corporate leaders from the region’s business and technology sectors, was led by Bavaria's State Secretary for Economic Affairs Roland Weigelt and also included the Ministerial Director for Regional Development and Energy, Dr Ulrike Wolf.
Also noteworthy was the presence of top officials of Proton Motor Fuel Cell (PM), a German company well-known for its production of hydrogen fuel cell modules. Integrated with energy storage systems, these modules serve as electric fuel cell hybrid system capable of providing power for mobile, stationary and maritime applications.
During their roughly four-day visit in Oman, the delegation met with key officials on the Omani side, including Eng Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Minister of Energy and Minerals, and Qais bin Mohammed al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion. They also travelled to Nimr in the south of Oman to visit the site of the world’s largest commercial reed bed treatment plant – a project developed by German firm Bauer Resources for Petroleum Development Oman (PDO).
In a statement, delegation leader Roland Weigert underlined the potential for energy cooperation between Bavaria and Oman. “As a strong industrial location, we in Bavaria will always have a minus in the hydrogen balance, despite the accelerated expansion of renewable energies. That is why we need reliable supply partners for green hydrogen. Oman is an anchor of stability in the Gulf region and would like to develop into a large producer of hydrogen from renewable sources and also supply it to Europe.”
The potential for cooperation, the State Secretary for Economic Affairs noted, is “enormous” along the entire value chain for both countries. “Our common goal is a long-term and trusting partnership at eye level. For Bavaria, it is now about to bring its innovative cutting-edge technology and expertise in hydrogen to Oman. We want to actively support the successful implementation of the ambitious hydrogen plans.
A statement issued by Bavarian authorities following the visit, cited the optimal environmental conditions prevailing in Oman for renewable energies and hydrogen production. It noted plans by Oman to build solar and wind parks, alongside hydrogen production plants, covering an area of 50,000 square kilometers. The first of these projects is expected to be awarded in early 2023, it pointed out.
“Oman is rapidly ramping up its hydrogen activities and could become a hydrogen hub due to its favourable location facing India, Asia and Africa. This is a strategic opportunity for our export-strong Bavarian companies. It was therefore exactly the right time to position Bavaria as a strong partner for Oman's hydrogen plans. During the talks, we were able to open important doors for our top-class business and science delegation,” Weigert added.
Over the past year, Oman and Germany have been building a strong framework for cooperation across all facets of green energy and the energy transition. In July 2022, against the backdrop of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik’s official visit to Germany, the two countries signed a declaration of intent for cooperation in the field of energy.
It encompasses cooperation in the fields of renewable energy technologies, their integrated systems and smart networks and energy efficiency, such as industry, buildings and transportation, green hydrogen and its derivatives, energy regulatory frameworks, research and market planning, with the aim of creating an attractive milieu to invest in energy transition technologies.
[Picture courtesy: Proton Motor]