LANDMARK: Investments are a cornerstone of Oman-China economic cooperation –
Conrad Prabhu –
DUQM, APRIL 19 –
Agreements were signed here yesterday committing over $3 billion of Chinese investment in a raft of projects, including a mega methanol and methanol-to-olefins (MTO) scheme, major power plant, world-scale solar equipment manufacturing facility, oilfield goods and pipeline plants and a sprawling hospitality venture.
They represent the first tranche of a substantial portfolio of heavy, mid-size and small scale industries worth around $10.7 billion that are earmarked for implementation in the China-Oman Industrial Park at Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Oman Wanfang LLC, representing a consortium of six corporations from China’s Ningxia Province, is the main developer of the sprawling 1,172-hectare park at the SEZ.
In all, 10 Chinese projects were unveiled at a ceremony marking the groundbreaking of the China-Oman Industrial Park development. The event was held under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Taimour bin Asaad al Said in the presence of Yahya bin Said al Jabri, Chairman of the SEZ Authority at Duqm (SEZAD), Wang Heshan, Deputy Governor of China’s Ningxia Province and Yu Fulong, Chinese Ambassador to the Sultanate.
Also present were over 100 Chinese investors and top figures from the 10 Chinese firms that are preparing to kickstart construction work on their investments in the Park.
Their visit to Duqm comes just under a year since Oman Wanfang LCC inked a landmark usufruct agreement with SEZAD covering the allotment of 1,172 hectares of land for the China-Oman Industrial Park. Oman Wanfang LLC’s mandate is to develop, manage and attract direct Chinese investments in light, medium and heavy industrial projects, as well as tourism and hospitality developments.
Ali Shah, CEO of Oman Wanfang LLC, who had signed the initial usufruct agreement with SEZAD last year, said the China-Oman Industrial Park has been ranked as one of the Top Overseas Industrial Parks by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Ministry of Commerce of China.
“We do believe it will become one of the largest manufacturing hubs in the Middle East and a key link in China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, as well as a cornerstone of Oman-China economic cooperation.
Notable among the 10 projects planned for development at the Park is the first of its kind solar equipment manufacturing hub with an investment of around $94 million. Plant capacity in Phase 1 is envisaged at 400 megwatts/per year (MWp) of goods, rising to 1 gigawatts/per year (GWp) in future expansions.
The project will be developed by Ningxia Zhongke Jiaye New Energy & Technology Management, a specialist in the manufacture of solar photovoltaic equipment. The company is eyeing revenues of $215 million annually through sales in the Middle East and Europe.
Elsewhere in the Park, Hebei Electric Power Design & Research Institute and Ningxia Electric Power Design Institute — subsidiaries of the Power Construction Corporation of China, are investing $406 million in the establishment of a 300MW power plant. The facility will meet the electricity requirements of tenants operating within the China-Oman Industrial Park.
Also noteworthy is a $84 million investment by prominent Chinese SUV maker Wuhan Xiao Long Auto-Tech Co in a high-mobile vehicle targeted at the military and civilian markets.
Production capacity in the first phase is envisioned at 9,000 units for civil use, and 1,000 units for military use. In Phase 2, the company plans to establish an electromechanical industrial park to support the growth of an SUV manufacturing industry in Duqm.
State-owned utility Ningxia Water Investment Group aims to invest $81 million in a bromine extraction plant that will be co-located with a seawater desalination facility at Duqm.
Production capacity is estimated at 50,000 tonnes per day of desalinated water and 3,000 tonnes per annum of bromine.
Real estate developer Ningxia Residence Construction Development Group is developing a 5-star beachfront hotel in a part of the Park overlooking the Arabian Sea — one of a string of properties at varying stages of implementation at Duqm.
Other investments lined up for execution at the China-Oman Investment Park are: Oilfield engineering services facility ($9 million), oil tubular goods manufacturing ($19 million), building materials marketing hub ($43 million), non-metal composite pipes plant ($10 million), and a couple of pipe manufacturing units.