No change in Duqm Refinery project timeline

Conrad Prabhu –
MUSCAT, JAN 31 –
Construction work on a giant green-field refinery complex at Duqm is expected to kick off before the end of this year or early in 2018, according to a top official of Oman Oil Company (OOC), the 50 per cent joint venture partner in the multibillion dollar venture.
Eng Isam al Zajdali, CEO of Oman Oil Company, the state-owned energy and strategic investment arm, said the timeline for the implementation of the scheme, which will anchor the growth of a mammoth Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Duqm, remains unchanged despite the exit of a key shareholder.
Last November, Oman Oil Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI), the international subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), for the development of the estimated $6 billion Duqm Refinery and Petroleum Complex in Duqm.
The pact effectively formalised Kuwait Petroleum International’s role as a 50 per cent joint venture partner in the project, following the departure of longstanding shareholder, the Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).
“The plan for Duqm Refinery remains as is,” said Al Zadjali. “We are finalising the shareholder agreement with Kuwait Petroleum International and we envision we will have financial close by around mid-year (2017). We are hoping that construction activities will start before the end of this year or early next year.”
Speaking to journalists at the Ministry of Oil & Gas yesterday, the official said that the change in the partnership status of the project will have no impact on the schedule for its implementation. “No, we have no plans whatsoever to delay the timeline that we have agreed. The Kuwaitis have already agreed (to this schedule),” he pointed out.
While declining to comment on the reasons for IPIC’s exit from the venture, the CEO stressed however: “We know this is a very good project, and we have more than one party that is interested to join us.”
A 900-hectare site at Duqm has already been readied for construction work to begin in earnest on this strategically important venture.