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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

A MONUMENTAL GULF ALLIANCE FUELS REGIONAL ENERGY REVOLUTION

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February 7 will mark the historic inauguration of OQ8, the largest investment of its kind between two Gulf countries represented by OQ – the global integrated energy group – and Kuwait Petroleum International. The world’s youngest refinery, standing as a testament to innovation, progress, and strategic cross-border partnership, is poised to revolutionise the energy landscape.


The inauguration will be in the presence of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, and His Highness Shaikh Mishal Al Ahmed Al Jaber al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait.


Located along Oman’s eastern shoreline in Duqm, OQ8 features a daily refining capacity of 230,000 barrels of crude oil. Its strategic coastal position offers a distinct advantage, granting seamless access to the major international maritime routes of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. With ambitions of achieving global acclaim, OQ8 is geared to make a substantial impact on Oman’s economic growth and future well-being.


Abdulsalam bin Mohammed Al Murshidi, the President of Oman Investment Authority (OIA), commented on the milestone inauguration, saying: “The gracious attendance of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and His Highness Shaikh Mishal Al Ahmed Al Jaber al Sabah at the inauguration of OQ8, the largest joint investment between the two nations, is a reflection of the two leaders’ unwavering support of the investment and economic partnership between Oman and Kuwait. We are proud of the heights of success reached by this joint venture and the repercussions that has on enticing further join investment.”


He added that OQ8, the largest joint investment in the petrochemical and refinery industry between two Gulf Cooperation Council countries, is a culmination of the bilateral relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the State of Kuwait, reflecting the deep-rooted economic relationship and tying joint interests to new joint investments.


He also emphasised the role that the inauguration of OQ8 plays in paving the way for regional and global investment in Oman, especially in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD). Elaborating on its host of investment incentives, and highlighted SEZAD’s holistic investment infrastructure, from the facilities and services provided by Marafiq to the Port of Duqm and the Ras Markaz Crude Oil Terminal, all of which showcase SEZAD’s added value as a promising manufacturing hub, particularly in the downstream and logistics sectors.


Commenting on the historic inauguration, Shaikh Nawaf S al Sabah, CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), explained: “The launch of OQ8 marks a pinnacle of achievement for the Omani-Kuwaiti alliance. This collaboration not only merges our economic interests but also celebrates the profound connection and shared legacy that Oman and Kuwait hold.”


On this long-awaited event,


David Bird, CEO of OQ8, said, “This is an incredible milestone in our journey towards transforming the energy stage. OQ8 encapsulates the power of collaboration and strategic vision. As we commence full-scale operations, we reaffirm our commitment to excellence and the betterment of the communities we serve. OQ8 emerges as a beacon of progress, symbolising a brighter future for the energy sector.”


He further stated, “OQ8 transcends its regional significance by incorporating unparalleled, state-of-the-art capabilities. Destined to be a cornerstone of national and global energy markets, it exemplifies our commitment to leading through innovation. This venture is a bold declaration of our vision to drive economic prosperity far beyond Oman’s borders, setting new benchmarks for the industry and fostering growth across the region and beyond.”


OQ8, encompassing three key packages, is engineered for the specialised production of a wide range of premium petroleum derivatives, including diesel, jet fuel, naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas, sulphur, and petroleum coke. Capable of processing diverse blends and grades to meet market demands, the refinery has notably contributed approximately 3.261 thousand tonnes to the industrial and energy sectors from March 2023 to January 2024.


The nationalisation rate at OQ8 stands at an impressive 60 per cent. Currently, 749 employees from 32 nationalities contribute to the refinery’s success, embodying values of diversity, inclusion, and the exchange of experiences. This diverse workforce is instrumental in cultivating an effective institutional culture focused on excellence.


The company’s commitment to social investment is evident in its contribution of over $5.4 million in social investment projects and sponsorships, positively impacting over 450,000 individuals. These initiatives focus on education, health, economic prosperity, and environmental stewardship, emphasising mutual benefits and continuous dialogue with local communities.


In alignment with its ICV strategy, $2.4 billion has been spent so far with local suppliers. Throughout the construction phase, OQ8, committed to ensuring that at least 20 per cent of all goods and services continue to be sourced within Oman, bolstering the local economy. This commitment extends to local SMEs – OQ8 sources spending at least $534 million of its resources from these community-based businesses. The volume of products manufactured in the Sultanate of Oman reached $182 million.


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