A Final Investment Decision (FID) by French energy major Total on its plans for an LNG bunkering hub at Sohar Port — the first such facility in the Middle East — is anticipated before the end of this year.
The project, representing one of the downstream components of a wider integrated gas development, will add considerable value to Oman’s gas sources, said a high-level executive of the energy giant.
“The Sohar project is part of a fully integrated project from upstream to downstream,” said Sophie Nasser (pictured), Business Development & Asset Management, Total. “On the upstream side, we are partnering with Shell and (Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production — part of OQ Group) to produce gas from a concession — basically two blocks (Blocks 10 and 11) which were (carved out) from PDO’s assets. The gas is from the Barik and Amin reservoirs, which are unconventional tight gas resources.”
Speaking at the International Gas Research Conference (IGRC) 2020, which concluded in Muscat on Wednesday, Nasser said Total is “working hard to finalise all of the agreements” with the respective partners concerned. “Hopefully, from our side, we will take an FID before the end of this year,” she noted.
Natural gas from central Oman, where Blocks 10 and 11 are located, will feed an LNG plant that will be set up by Total at Sohar Port as part of a first-ever bunkering facility providing clean-burning LNG as a transportation fuel for ships.
“On Total’s side, we will have roughly 150 million standard cubic feet per day of gas that will be (pumped) to Sohar for the LNG plant, which will have a capacity of roughly 1 million tonnes per year. On Shell’s side, they will bring the rest of the gas to Duqm for a Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) plant.”
Total, said Nasser, is also working closely with Sohar Port which will host the LNG project on a piece of land that is proposed to be reclaimed from the sea. The Sohar South Zone, she said, will have to be built first before construction commences on the LNG project.
Asked by a member of the audience about Total’s reasons for selecting Sohar Port for the siting of its LNG bunkering facility, the executive noted that Sohar’s geographical location — outside the Strait of Hormuz — would make it attractive for ships to call at the port for LNG bunker without having to digress too far from their original routes. Furthermore, LNG bunkering barges will be deployed to Mina Sultan Qaboos to serve cruise ships, among other vessels, calling at Muscat, she said, adding that Duqm and Salalah ports could be potentially covered as well.