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Sohar Port pulls in $2.5bn worth petchem projects



Four new hydrocarbon and petrochemical projects worth a ballpark $2.5 billion in investments are due to come up on a new parcel of land to be reclaimed from the sea as part of the ambitious Sohar South expansion project of Sohar Port and Freezone (SOHAR).

A tender for the reclamation of the land, designed to add around 250 hectares to SOHAR’s hugely successful Petrochemicals Cluster, is due to floated shortly, according to a top official of the industrial port.

“The Sohar South expansion is progressing very well,” said Mark Geilenkirchen (pictured), Chief Executive Officer. “We have so far attracted four investors to this development, which falls within our Petrochemical Cluster.”

Speaking to the Observer, Geilenkirchen said a decision on the reclamation of land for the new development, adjoining the Petrochemical Cluster, is due to be taken very soon.

“We will start tendering — perhaps in July — for the reclamation of land aimed at adding another 250 hectares to the Sohar Port. We hope to attract a lot of customers to this huge piece of land, as well as business to Sohar in general. This will create a lot of jobs as well.”

The expansion of the Petrochemical Cluster has become necessary because the port has virtually run out of leasable real estate for new petrochemical investors. The cluster is already home to petrochemical projects worth in excess of $10 billion — the majority of them set up by wholly government owned Oman Oil and Orpic Group.

A two-year timeframe is envisioned for the completion of dredging and reclamation, which will be followed by a roughly three-year window for the implementation of the projects, according to the CEO. “Within the next five years, you will see the land occupied and the projects operational,” he said.

Among the first tenants is expected to be Trescorp, a Singapore-based oil and petroleum products trading firm, which has signed a deal with SOHAR Port to develop a 45-hectare terminal for the handling, storage and blending of crude oil, fuel oil and diesel at the port. Trescorp envisions an investment of $600 million in the new terminal.

The Sohar South development is also tipped to host a regional hub for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering services to supply LNG to ships as bunker fuel. French based international integrated energy firm Total is the main investor in the 1 million tonnes per annum capacity bunkering terminal.

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