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Oman targets launch of Energy Transition Policy by Q2

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Two key policy documents that will underpin the Omani government’s commitment to decarbonizing the domestic economy and supporting the global transition to a sustainable, clean-energy based future are slated for completion and their eventual unveiling by around the middle of this year.

The Energy Transition Policy/Strategy and the Legal Frameworks are both keenly anticipated by local and international developers eyeing a windfall of investment opportunities linked to the emerging clean energy and renewable hydrogen economy. Their imminent launch and implementation will impart strong new impetus to Oman’s energy transition plans, according to a high-level official of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.

Eng Abdulaziz al Shidhani, Director General of Renewable Energy and Hydrogen, said work on the Energy Transition Policy and Strategy document is substantially complete with final approvals awaited from authorities before it can be formally unveiled.

Speaking at the IEEE Power Talks forum, which concluded in Muscat on Wednesday, the official provided an outline of Oman’s Energy Transition Masterplan, which was tendered out last July. Spurring the broader decarbonisation effort, he said, were Royal Directives by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik last year. “We needed to accelerate the base of the hydrogen economy, and it was a clear mandate given to the Ministry to set up the policy regulatory framework, allocate enough lands, set up a new company to orchestrate the sector and a directorate in the ministry to look after this sector,” said Eng Al Shidhani.

A key milestone in this journey was marked last October when Oman announced a firm commitment to Net Zero by 2050 while Oman Hydrogen Company (Hydrom) was formally launched as well. Building on these developments, commercial agreements were signed earlier this year to support six hydrogen projects that will produce around 700,000 tonnes per annum of green hydrogen by 2030, he said.

In his talk, Al Shidhani emphasised the critical importance of the Royal Decree setting out Oman’s green hydrogen vision and promulgated in February this year. “What's good about this Royal Decree is that no one can do anything with the (50,000 sq kilometres of land allocated for green hydrogen projects) without the permission of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. That provides a lot of security to the market and as well to Hydrom to go ahead and master-plan and orchestrate the development of the sector,” he explained.

Al Shidhani also affirmed that contract awards for the first two blocks earmarked under Hydrom’s public auction route will be announced “next week or the week after”. Further awards are expected by the end of this year or early next year with the goal to secure around 1 million tonnes of green hydrogen output by 2030, he said.

As for the Energy Transition Strategy, it proposes targets for decarbonisation at 10-year intervals (2030, 2040 and 2050) through to the Net Zero goal of 2050, said Al Shidhani. It centres on, among other pillars, the use of low-carbon hydrogen for domestic consumption in industry, power sector and transportation, among other sectors, with surplus volumes targeted for export.

“The vision of the Oman Energy Transition Policy Strategy is to achieve Net Zero by 2050 while also ensuring energy security, competitive growth in the low-carbon economy and value to society; and (it entails) the use of renewable energy as a major energy source for Oman to compete in the energy sector on the global stage,” he added.

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