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Phase 1 of Oman’s first green ammonia project set for mid-2025 launch

Landmark venture: Initial groundwork commences on 100,000 tonnes/day plant at Duqm SEZ
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MUSCAT: The first phase of Oman’s first maiden ammonia project – currently under development in Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ) – is on track for launch by around mid-2025, according to a key executive representing the project promoters.

Syed Hussain Naqvi, Chief Technology Officer of ACME, an Indian-based international renewable and green energy developer, said the Duqm project will rank among the world’s first green ammonia ventures when an initial phase comes online in the next couple of years.

Participating in a webinar conducted recently by Ammonia Energy Association, an industry grouping promoting the use of ammonia in a sustainable energy economy, Naqvi said an ACME-led special purpose vehicle named ‘Green Hydrogen & Chemicals SPC, is currently developing the facility at Duqm.

“Our first commercial-scale plant is coming up in Duqm SEZ where we will have a facility capable of producing 1.2 million tonnes of green ammonia every year; so we have acquired around 92 sq kilometres of land (in Duqm) for this project,” the Chief Technology Officer said.

“We are already certified as a green ammonia production facility by TUV Rheinland, and we have the environmental clearance and construction permits as well. Further, we have placed orders for long lead items like the ammonia loop with (US-based engineering firm) KBR, the ammonia storage facility with (German industrial engineering giant) ThyssenKrupp, and so on.”

Sharing details about the landmark venture, the official noted that an investment of around $6 billion is envisaged in the development of the complete 1.2 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) capacity scheme over two phases. Labour camps have already been set up at site, with the first phase capacity of 300 tonnes per day of green ammonia expected to be brought into operation between December 2024 and June 2025.

At the upstream end of the project, solar photovoltaic arrays offering around 486 megawatt-peak (MWp) of capacity will power a 320 MW electrolyser plant, hydrogen from which will be passed through the Haber-Bosch loop to be converted into ammonia. Phase 1 output of green ammonia is projected at around 100,000 tonnes per annum. Other project components include a roughly 7 million litres/day capacity desalination plant, a 60-tonne capacity hydrogen storage plant, and facilities for the storage of 30,000 tonnes of green ammonia.

To help with the delivery of this green energy project in Oman, ACME has lined up a number of reputable engineering firms, technology providers, and consultants, according to the official. Besides KBR and TUV Rheinland, the list includes L&T Sargent & Lundy, Black & Veatch, Worley, Tata Consulting Engineers, SenseHawk, BMT Cowi, Allen & Overy, ACES and Nusail Surveys. As for the offtake of green ammonia, a term-sheet has already been signed, with an agreement presently in the final stages.

Significantly, ACME’s Oman project is the first in an expanding portfolio of green hydrogen related investments planned by the group within India and elsewhere across the world, said Naqvi. “Our vision is to reach about 10 million tonnes of green molecule production in terms of green ammonia or its equivalent in hydrogen by 2030 – 2032,” he stated.

In the pipeline are 1.1 mtpa capacity ammonia projects planned in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha, and a 2.1 mtpa plant in Egypt.

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