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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Award imminent for Oman’s first green hydrogen block via auction

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MUSCAT: The Sultanate of Oman is just days away from announcing the winner of its first green hydrogen block offered to international developers in a competitive auction process overseen by Hydrom, the country’s independent orchestrator for this emerging sector.


The revelation came in a keynote address by Eng Salim bin Nasser al Aufi (pictured), Oman’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, at the World Hydrogen Summit, which concluded in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam on Thursday.


Media reports quoted Al Aufi as saying that the maiden award will be announced “in the next few days”, with a second award likely in June.


The land blocks, each covering an area of around 320 sq kilometres and located in Duqm in Al Wusta Governorate, were offered for development as part of Round 1 of Phase A of Hydrom’s multi-year auction programme.


Bids were due in by March 15, 2023.


The winning consortiums are expected to develop integrated projects covering the full green hydrogen value chain, encompassing solar and wind farms (upstream), production of green hydrogen through electrolysis (midstream) and a green energy end-product comprising either hydrogen, ammonia or derivative for domestic consumption or export.


Separately, Hydrom had signed term sheets with a number of developers of green hydrogen projects dubbed ‘Legacy Initiatives’ because they were initiated before issuance of a clear regulatory framework by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals being the policy maker and regulator of the sector.


These agreements, initialed in March this year, pertain to 6 Legacy Projects located in the proximity of Duqm or Salalah ports: BP Alternative Energy Investments Limited (for a project in Duqm and another in Dhofar), Green Energy Oman (GEO), Green Hydrogen and Chemicals SPC (owned by ACME), Hyport Duqm consortium and SalalaH2 consortium.


These developments will require an installed capacity of approximately 15GW of renewable energy, with total expected investments projected at around $20 billion (including shared infrastructure). The projects are expected to provide over 750,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per annum, which would be further processed in local industries and into energy carriers for export.


In his address to the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam, Al Aufi also gave an overview of Oman’s ambitious green hydrogen strategy, which targets a production of around 1 million tonnes/year of green molecules by 2030, rising to around 8 million tonnes/year by 2050. He stated that this would necessitate investments in electrolyser capacity starting from 10GW in 2030, and climbing to 100GW by 2050.


Al Aufi’s participation in the Rotterdam forum marked the culmination of a roughly weeklong visit to Europe, which also included key meetings with authorities in Belgium as well as the representatives of the European Commission.


In Brussels, he signed an agreement for a Green Energy Certification pilot project for the ‘Hyport Duqm’ project, joint venture between Belgium’s DEME Concessions and Oman’s OQ Alternative Energy for renewable hydrogen project in Duqm.


In the Netherlands, Al Aufi met with Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation; Micky Adriaansens, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy; Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, and Allard Castelain, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam.


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