Oman’s Sohar port has joined LNG industry body SEA\LNG to promote the port’s investment in LNG bunkering facilities and LNG as a marine fuel
Marsa LNG, a joint venture between Total SA and OQ, will develop a state-of-the-art LNG liquefaction plant and bunkering facility in Sohar port.
The project will see LNG bunkered to vessels calling at the port and aims to build the port into a bunkering hub in the Middle East. Oman’s so-called SOHAR Port and Freezone is located outside the Strait of Hormuz and mid-way between Europe and Asia. Sohar also features deepwater drafts capable of handling large vessels.
SEA\LNG said the liquefaction plant and bunkering project will offer attractive business conditions, enhanced by access to a dedicated logistics chain and large domestic gas reserves.
SEA\LNG chairman Peter Keller said “Sohar is our first member from the Sultanate of Oman and will provide an attractive global offering once the marine bunkering project is completed.”
“From our perspective, this is an opportune time to develop LNG capabilities in Oman given the expansive growth of marine activity within the region. We welcome Sohar to our cause of furthering the use of LNG as an important, environmentally superior maritime fuel.”
Mr Keller added that the time was right to push LNG as an alternative fuel. “Now is the time to move forward with LNG as an important maritime fuel. Inaction is not a plan and we cannot afford to wait decades for solutions that may never be realised.”
His comments come in the wake of ABS’ new report which suggests that petroleum based fuels will still have a considerable share of the market by 2050.
Sohar port chief executive Mark Geilenkirchen said “The establishment of this facility will make Sohar one of the key LNG bunkering facilities on the main shipping trade routes, alongside other strategic ports, many of whom are already SEA\LNG members, such as the Port of Singapore. Marsa LNG will supply LNG sourced locally in the Sultanate.”
In addition to Oman, Singapore is investing in LNG bunkering facilities including expanding its portfolio of LNG and gas assets, upgrading its LNG terminal and bunkering infrastructure, and growing its LNG shipbuilding and repair industrial base.