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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Opportunity Oman: Duqm sustainable growth and green opportunities

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HH Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said, Minister of Culture, Sports, and Youth, recently presided over the opening ceremony of the First Duqm Economic Forum, underscoring the significance of this transformative event. Taking Oman Vision 2040 as its foundation, the Duqm Economic Forum, organized by the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones & Free Zones (OPAZ), convened on October 16 and 17, 2023.


The forum brought together a multitude of international companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals who eagerly signed contracts and committed investments in the Duqm city project. This resounding vote of confidence in Duqm stems from the belief that it is poised to become one of the premier cities in the world, leading the charge in Oman's transition to a green economy.


The two-day forum was purposefully structured to emphasize the economic landscape and investment potential not only in the Sultanate of Oman at large but also, specifically, within the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD). At the heart of this discussion lies the monumental potential of Duqm's green hydrogen as a clean energy solution for heavy industries, promising substantial decarbonization and propelling manufacturing towards a more sustainable future.


Global leaders in renewable energy, manufacturing, petrochemicals, and logistics are converging on Duqm, attracted by an ecosystem of drivers and the promise of harnessing Duqm's renewable energy resources. Oman, aligned with its National Energy Strategy and the core tenets of Oman Vision 2040, has embarked on ambitious renewable energy projects.


Among these is the export-oriented Hyport Duqm – a proposed 500MW green hydrogen and ammonia plant poised to establish Oman as a leading global producer and exporter of zero-carbon fuels.


This pivotal DUQM23 panel illuminates the green energy companies establishing roots in Duqm, highlighting the robust infrastructure and expertise supporting them, the consumer trends that drive them, and the opportunities propelling their success.


Notably, the demand for petrochemicals, essential in a myriad of industries including plastics, fertilizers, packaging, electronics, medical equipment, and more, is set to surge by 40% by 2030, nearly doubling by 2050. Furthermore, petrochemicals are instrumental in the production of key components for modern renewable energy systems.


The Duqm Refinery project and the Markaz Crude Oil Storage Terminal, the largest oil storage and export project in the Middle East, represent substantial investments, offering opportunities for petrochemical manufacturers targeting burgeoning markets tied to the green energy transition.


In the pursuit of sustainable development and green energy opportunities, the Duqm Economic Forum emerges as a beacon, showcasing Duqm's potential to lead Oman into a greener, more prosperous future. The forum, an initiative of OPAZ, aims to create a lasting impact by exploring innovative partnership opportunities and spotlighting the enticing green investment prospects within the Special Economic Zone at Duqm.


An overview of Duqm Refinery project. Image for illustration only.
An overview of Duqm Refinery project. Image for illustration only.


Among the distinguished participants that played a pivotal role in the Duqm Economic Forum, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) held a prominent position. Functioning as a non-profit development institution, the IFC exhibited an unwavering dedication to bolstering Oman's efforts in expediting a diverse array of development projects, while also providing extensive financial support. This support takes on multifaceted dimensions: it encompasses the facilitation of funding solutions for projects within the Oman Free Zone (OPAZ) and the industrial estates, contingent on the projects' alignment with the rigorous criteria set forth by the IFC.


Furthermore, the IFC extends a financial conduit for private sector ventures keen on investing in OPAZ and the industrial estates, with a specific emphasis on infrastructure and climate change-related undertakings. This strategic approach is indicative of the IFC's overarching commitment to sustainable development and economic growth within the region.


With a resolute focus on co-investment, Duqm is positioned to become a global hub for green initiatives. Collaborations with steel manufacturers, directed towards the production of direct furnaces and green metallic elements like HBI, demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices. This collective effort, guided by the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones & Free Zones, aims to establish Duqm as a cornerstone in the global transition towards green energy.


In conclusion, the Duqm Economic Forum of 2023 served as a pivotal moment, unveiling the immense potential of the Special Economic Zone at Duqm. With a strategic focus on sustainable growth, renewable energy, and green initiatives, Duqm is poised to lead Oman and the world into a future defined by economic prosperity and environmental stewardship.


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