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10 years of excellence

2013 Issue 6


Chairman of SIPC:

H.E. Sultan bin Salim bin Said Al Habsi

CEO of SIPC: Andre Toet CEO of Freezone Sohar:

Jamal T. Aziz

Executive Commercial Manager:

Edwin Lammers

edwin.lammers@portofsohar.com Communications Department:

Aisha al Maamari

aisha.almaamari@portofsohar.com

CEO of OEPPA:

H.E. Dr. Ibrahim bin Ahmed al Kindi

Magazine Editor: Maurice Gent News Editor:

Conrad Prabhu

Communications Dep:

Bader Mohammed Al Thanawi

bader@omanobserver.om Business Development Department:

Prem Varghese

prem@omanobserver.om Design: ITC info@itcoman.com

Front Cover Image: Port of Sohar port basin Back Cover Image: Al Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome under construction in Freezone Sohar

6 Port of Sohar 2013


2013 Issue 6

>>CONTENTS > Messages........................................................................................... 7 > Gateway Sohar.............................................................................. 22 > GOING FOR GROWTH....................................................................... 24 > Majis Industrial Services S.A.O.C........................................ 28 > Sohar Chronicle.......................................................................... 32 > Petrochemicals Cluster......................................................... 41 > Metals Cluster.............................................................................. 49 > Freezone Sohar............................................................................. 73 > Logistics Cluster.......................................................................... 79 > Service Providers........................................................................ 91 > English / Arabic directories................................................ 127


His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said


André Toet as group CEO, the SIPC has gained an old hand at commercial shipping as well as port management. 4. From the standpoint of Rotterdam Port’s own success in catalyzing the growth of industrial and downstream clusters, how in your view is Freezone Sohar well-positioned to capitalise on Sohar Port’s robust appeal in attracting downstream and logistics investments? Along with Houston and Singapore, Rotterdam is one of the world’s market leaders in petrochemicals, thanks to the oil terminal. Refineries have been built all around the terminal, which in turn have drawn the factories of various multinationals, which use the refinery products as raw materials for their own production processes. Similarly, Sohar has now created the basic conditions for the attraction of clusters relating to iron ore and chemicals. A strong cluster is an attractive place of business and, in the long run, is less vulnerable to fluctuations in the economic climate and to developments such as the transition to more bio-based chemicals. 5. In your view, how does the Omani government’s plan for enhanced rail, road and air connectivity with Sohar Port mirror Rotterdam’s own multimodal transportation model that underpins its success as a gateway into Europe? We have full confidence in the Omani government’s plans. A port’s success depends on its connections. If only the water links are good, it is difficult for the hinterland to benefit from the overseas connections. For that reason, it is important to develop strong hinterland infrastructure for different modalities. 6. Please outline efforts by Port of Rotterdam to support the transfer of know-how and technology to Oman in line with its obligations as a joint venture partner in the management of Sohar Port. So far, at any given time, about 10 to 15 Port of Rotterdam employees are posted to SIPC. Agreements have been made with the government regarding Omanisation. The Port of Rotterdam Authority will in any case remain expressly involved in the commercial positions. In addition, the Port Authority will also provide expertise on a project basis to the SIPC in order to develop the port further. 7. With all of the major industrial and infrastructure projects in Sohar Port now essentially in place, is it now a period of consolidation for the industrial port? Please comment.

It is never time for consolidation. As a port, you need to always be open to and have space for further development of the port. The recession in Europe definitely offers Oman opportunities to improve its international position. The Rotterdam port has also continued to develop. For instance, last year the first LNG terminal was opened and this summer we are starting construction on a tank terminal for primarily Russian oil and oil products. These are new markets. Consolidation sounds too much like stagnation to me. And stagnation means decline. 8. Finally, where do you see Sohar Port and Freezone Sohar, say, 5 or 10 years from now? A Greek philosopher once said that only the brave make predictions. If I must, though, then I am confident that the port of Sohar will have made a substantial contribution to the Omanisation of Oman and that Omanis will fill the main positions in the port. It would be great if Sohar Port has passed the port of Rotterdam as the port for iron ore in ten years. In our top years we handled 40 million tons. But we haven’t reached that for years because pellets have gained in popularity and the steel industry in Germany needs less ore. I also expect that the first part of the Free Zone will be completely developed.

9 Port of Sohar 2013


Chairman’s Message

H.E Sultan bin Salim bin Said Al Habsi Chairman, Sohar Industrial Port Company

Being the newly appointed chairman, it’s a great pleasure and honour to serve on the board of Port of Sohar; SIPC. I will endeavour to put all efforts of the board and the management of SIPC to ensure a good investment climate for both our current and future tenants

T

he port of Sohar has achieved a major milestone in 2012. It was 10 years ago when the special purpose joint venture company (50/50) between the Government of Oman and the Port of Rotterdam was established. Sohar Port with its unique location outside the Strait of Hormuz has attracted major investments totaling US$ 14 billion over these past 10 years. Major international terminal operating companies have established themselves, like Hutchison Whampoa (containers), Oiltanking Odfjell (oil & chemicals) and C.Steinweg (general cargo). Major industries have started their operations in the port of Sohar, like Vale (pelletizing iron ore), Jindal Shadeed (iron briquettes), Oman Refineries & Petrochemical Industries (ORPIC), Oman Methanol, Sohar Aluminium (Rio Tinto Alcan) and Larsen & Toubro’s Modular Fabrication & Heavy Engineering. Next to these developments, Freezone Sohar has taken momentum with the first tenants building their business in the Freezone. A massive 4500 Hectares of free zone land is readily available to attract national and international business. As a result of Sohar’s success, SIPC is engaged in the master plan of the greater Sohar Industrial Zone, which is being branded as the Gateway, a 300 square kilometer space encompassing the port, free zone, airport, intermodal terminal and other light industrial areas. The Sohar gateway is also connected by an excellent road infrastructure with other economic zones in the GCC and beyond. Sohar through its achievements is poised to grow as a formidable trade and manufacturing hub in the Upper Gulf region. Great emphasis is placed on road

connectivity into the GCC, particularly access to the Saudi Arabian market as well as simplifying and modernizing customs processes through its terminals and border posts. This will create future business opportunities thus creating further job opportunities and prosperity for the people of Oman, specifically the population of North Batinah as well as helping develop local small and medium companies. The government has made a decision to consolidate the commercial cargo in Sohar, focusing the Port Sultan Qaboos on tourism and cruise activities. The shift of cargo has to be executed in a prudent manner by taking into account the interests of shipping lines, shipping agents, traders and business houses whilst creating opportunities for attracting main liners and larger scale vessels for general cargo and ro-ro to the Sultanate of Oman. The establishment of the International Maritime College Oman (IMCO) in the Port of Sohar has evolved as a wellrespected educational facility of international acclaim and is seen as an essential vehicle to train and develop Omanis both academically and vocationally in the area of logistics, transport, shipping and industrial processing, which will provide a trained local workforce to the industry in Sohar and Al Batinah area. Being the newly appointed chairman, it’s a great pleasure and honour to serve on the board of Port of Sohar (SIPC). On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, I congratulate SIPC on its remarkable achievements thus far. I will endeavour to put all efforts of the board and the management of SIPC to ensure we maintain a good investment climate for both our current and future tenants.

7 Port of Sohar 2013


Toasting a ten-year partnership

Hans Smits Chief Executive Officer, Port of Rotterdam

T

he combination of industrial port and Free Zone is unique in the Gulf, thus presenting an excellent opportunity for the Port of Sohar to positively distinguish itself from other ports in the region, says Mr. Hans Smits, CEO of Port of Rotterdam (joint venture partner in Port of Sohar) in the following Q&A:

1. As we mark roughly a decade of the partnership between the Government of Oman and Port of Rotterdam in the establishment of Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC), please offer your thoughts on this milestone and how this joint venture partnership has come to define the burgeoning bilateral relationship between Oman and the Netherlands. The Port of Rotterdam Authority looks back fondly on a decade of working with Sohar Industrial Port Company. It is hard to believe that little more than ten years ago it was just a grove of date trees. We are proud to have stood with the Sultanate at the foundation of this spectacular port development. And we are not alone in this. Recently, the Queen and Crown Prince of the Netherlands visited Sohar, with a number of Dutch ministers and important business delegations following in their wake. In this way, our participation also gives an extra impulse for the business community and international relations. We are also proud and pleased that we have been able to make a contribution to Omanisation. Now that the Sohar Free Zone is

8 Port of Sohar 2013

also beginning to develop, I am convinced that more and more Omanis will be able to earn their living thanks to the port of Sohar. 2. Having already played its part in the development of a world-class industrial port and logistics hub at Sohar, what role does Port of Rotterdam envisage for itself in sustaining and building on Sohar Port’s success? Rotterdam is the European market leader in terms of transhipment of dry bulk, containers and chemicals. The expertise that we have built up in reaching this position can be put to good use developing the Port of Sohar. Vale, for instance, has been an important contact for the port of Rotterdam for years now. The involvement of our port alone means an extra incentive for potential partners to do business with the port of Sohar. 3. With new seaports and logistics hubs under development in the wider Arabian Gulf, how do you see Port of Sohar leveraging its strategic location and the world-class expertise of its Dutch partner in maintaining its leading edge in the region? The position of an industrial port with a Free Zone behind it is unique in the region and is an excellent opportunity for the port of Sohar to positively distinguish itself from other ports in the region. In the appointment of our former director


André Toet as group CEO, the SIPC has gained an old hand at commercial shipping as well as port management. 4. From the standpoint of Rotterdam Port’s own success in catalyzing the growth of industrial and downstream clusters, how in your view is Freezone Sohar well-positioned to capitalise on Sohar Port’s robust appeal in attracting downstream and logistics investments? Along with Houston and Singapore, Rotterdam is one of the world’s market leaders in petrochemicals, thanks to the oil terminal. Refineries have been built all around the terminal, which in turn have drawn the factories of various multinationals, which use the refinery products as raw materials for their own production processes. Similarly, Sohar has now created the basic conditions for the attraction of clusters relating to iron ore and chemicals. A strong cluster is an attractive place of business and, in the long run, is less vulnerable to fluctuations in the economic climate and to developments such as the transition to more bio-based chemicals. 5. In your view, how does the Omani government’s plan for enhanced rail, road and air connectivity with Sohar Port mirror Rotterdam’s own multimodal transportation model that underpins its success as a gateway into Europe? We have full confidence in the Omani government’s plans. A port’s success depends on its connections. If only the water links are good, it is difficult for the hinterland to benefit from the overseas connections. For that reason, it is important to develop strong hinterland infrastructure for different modalities. 6. Please outline efforts by Port of Rotterdam to support the transfer of know-how and technology to Oman in line with its obligations as a joint venture partner in the management of Sohar Port. So far, at any given time, about 10 to 15 Port of Rotterdam employees are posted to SIPC. Agreements have been made with the government regarding Omanisation. The Port of Rotterdam Authority will in any case remain expressly involved in the commercial positions. In addition, the Port Authority will also provide expertise on a project basis to the SIPC in order to develop the port further. 7. With all of the major industrial and infrastructure projects in Sohar Port now essentially in place, is it a period of consolidation for the industrial port? Please comment.

It is never time for consolidation. As a port, you need to always be open to and have space for further development of the port. The recession in Europe definitely offers Oman opportunities to improve its international position. The Rotterdam port has also continued to develop. For instance, last year the first LNG terminal was opened and this summer we are starting construction on a tank terminal for primarily Russian oil and oil products. These are new markets. Consolidation sounds too much like stagnation to me. And stagnation means decline. 8. Finally, where do you see Sohar Port and Freezone Sohar, say, 5 or 10 years from now? A Greek philosopher once said that only the brave make predictions. If I must, though, then I am confident that the port of Sohar will have made a substantial contribution to the Omanisation of Oman and that Omanis will fill the main positions in the port. It would be great if Sohar Port has passed the port of Rotterdam as the port for iron ore in ten years. In our top years we handled 40 million tons. But we haven’t reached that for years because pellets have gained in popularity and the steel industry in Germany needs less ore. I also expect that the first part of the Free Zone will be completely developed.

9 Port of Sohar 2013


10 Port of Sohar 2013


ceo’s Message By Andre Toet Chief Executive Officer, Sohar Industrial Port Company

I

t is with great pleasure that we present to you the 2013 edition of the Port and Freezone Sohar magazine. First of all would I would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients for their continuous support, making Port and Freezone Sohar a world class destination and to reach out to our new clients to wish them all success doing business in Sohar.

For our potential new investors I do hope this magazine provides you an insight on the developments in Sohar. Having been in the job for just over a year as the new CEO of SIPC I am still impressed by the developments over the past 10 years. The Sohar port and Freezone development is a great accelerator for the economic growth of Oman and the North Batinah Governorate, creating both direct and indirect employment. This asks from us all to make sure that enough skilled labour is available to support the future and current projects and their expansion plans. Major investments have therefore been made in education; extending Sohar University, easy access to international schools and the establishment of the International Maritime College. All set to facilitate the growth ambitions. Oman and specifically Sohar and its strategic geographical location is superb, just outside the Inner waters of the Gulf, creating a hub serving the GCC, Indian sub-continent and East/South Africa. Oman has been for centuries well placed on the cross routes of trade. Port and Freezone Sohar could become your Gateway. We operate the port as Landlord, enabling infrastructure and services to support your business. We have ensured that reputed international companies, both industries and operators, have established themselves in Sohar. The 50/50 joint venture with the Port of Rotterdam secures that the latest knowhow on port management is readily available for running the port on a daily basis and to cater to all the expansion plans, at the same time we are working hard to transfer that knowhow to the Omani people and management and staff of Sohar Industrial Port Company. On behalf of our entire team, I do welcome you to the Port and Freezone Sohar. I wish “our� current tenants and clients every success in making a successful business in Oman and Sohar and hope that our new clients can soon become a part of the success of the Port and Freezone Sohar.

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pr

oa

ch

Vale Jetty

Ch

an

ne

l

South

ern B

kwater

Bulk Terminal

r

2D

Turning Circle 760m

er

Turning Circle 275m

Br

ea

kw

ate

nt

t wa

ak

Turning Circle 350m

B C1

evelopme

Future D e Br

ater

A C1

Future Bulk Liquid Berth C2

Northern Brea

reakw

B

Ap

13

14

L & T Modular Fabrication Yard

10

11

12

8

9

Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) Future Development

Sohar Aluminium Terminal (SAC)

2C

9

6

4

5

Oman International Container Terminal (OICT)

C. Steinweg Oman (CSO)

2B

1

3

Future Development

7

3

Oilta Od Ter (O

Future Development

Future Development

Oiltanking Odfjell Terminal

27

28A

28

MOAG

59

58

Jindal Shadeed L & T Heavy Engineering

12

39

Modern Projects Assignments 8

Future Development

SIUCI Future Development

15C

15B

Sohar Internation Urea & Chemic Industries (SIUCI) 15A

Future Development 8A

Future Development 45

Vale 40

Poly Propylene Plant (ORPIC) Future Development 4

Civil Defence

Future Development 51

Sohar Steel (SMS) 11

Future Development

ALSIG

7

10C

16A

Future Development Sohar Steel Extention

Port City

12 Port of Sohar 2013

Aromatic (ORP

14

10

MISC WWT


Port of Sohar overview

Industrial Clusters Energy & Water Logistics

Break

water

Metals & Minerals

Sea Of Oman

Petrochemicals Governmental Utility

B

Majis Jetty A

e 1AA2

Future Development Majis Reclamation Area

2AA1 4

Seawater intake

3

Oiltanking Odfjell Terminal (OOT)

n

29

Sohar Power Plant (SPC)

ltanking Odfjell erminal

19A

l dustria Majis In ompany C s e ic Serv

AL Batinah Power Company (ABPC) 19B

28

Oman Methanol Company (OMC)

Sohar International Urea & Chemical Industries (SIUCI)

Public Authority for Electricity and water 19F

17

Seawater ll Return Outfa

Future Seawater intake

Oman Electricity Transmission Company

l Internationa Maritime an Om College

25

Sohar Aluminium Power Plant (SAC)

Future Seawater ll Return Outfa

37

Future Development

21

23

19C

Majis Industrial Services Company 21A

15A Oman Gas Company

Sohar Refinery (ORPIC)

20

16

Aromatics Plant (ORPIC)

Sohar Refinery (ORPIC) Future Development

16A

18

MISC WWTP 22

Substation 30

OFCC 31

OFCC 32

13 Port of Sohar 2013


FREEZONE SOhar overview

METS 8ha

Printing and cigarette manufacturing 2.1ha

Container Solutions 2ha

Oman Trading Establishment 10.21ha Oman Trading Establishment 15ha

Suhail Bahwan Automotive 10.22 ha

Legend Light manufacturing Metals & minerals Trading & logistics Hydrocarbons petrochemicals Available plots

14 Port of Sohar 2013

Suhail Bahwan Automotive 15ha

MEVAC 1ha

ST Marble 6ha

Reseved 1ha

ALMa Cabrol 1ha AF&SS 0.5ha Calyx 0.5ha

AL Siraj 2ha Reserved 2ha

I Sun Petrochem 14ha


CR Rolls &Steel 0.5ha

Dunes 6ha

arble a

INCO 3ha

Reseved 2ha

Al Tamman INDSIL Chrome 14ha

Gulf Mining Materials 10ha

Al Tamman INDSIL Chrome 15ha

Bahar Oman Metals 23ha

Metkor Croniment 20ha

MISC 3ha

15 Port of Sohar 2013


Freezone Sohar A formidable kid on the block

By Jamal T Aziz Chief Executive Officer, Sohar Free Zone LLC

T

he year 2012 haS seen a growING transformation of Sohar from a developing project to a strategic logistics hub, which is carving its position amongst the top-ranked ports and free zones in the Upper Gulf Region. In 2013, Port of Sohar is poised to offer cost effective alternative solutions and new opportunities to the shipping community at a time the shipping world still struggles to create economies of scale to combat rising fuel costs and reduced freight rates. Some major shipping lines have started already operating direct services to countries around the world. With the consolidation of cargo of PSQ with PoS, further main line services will be offered. This comes as no surprise especially when one looks at Sohar’s strategic location and the Port’s state-of-the-art cargo terminals operated by top notch world operators, the likes of Hutchison Wampoa for containers, Steinweg for general cargo and the JV between Oiltanking and Odfjell for liquids. Recently, the Port of Sohar introduced its latest project: the Dry Bulk Terminal, which allows local quarry operators to load aggregate and other minerals destined to the sizeable demand in countries in the region, specifically the GCC. Furthermore, it allows the import of various minerals which can augment the already expanding metals cluster. In a short time span of less than 8 years Port of Sohar has been able to attract local and international investments amounting to over 14 billion dollars which saw the rise of gas-based industries such as refineries, aromatics, aluminum and steel and a well-planned energy infrastructure. These are now seen as triggers for further growth in terms of marine activities as well as in the industrial base of Sohar. Some of the key milestones that will be achieved in 2013 include the emergence of Gateway Sohar as a brand to market the value proposition of Sohar’s Greater Industrial Zone. Having expanded its common services to include bunkering, marine services and the handling of dry bulk commodities (such as ores, aggregates and minerals), the Port of Sohar is a truly world-class port with a water depth ranging between 16 and 23 meters. Besides the Port and in order to facilitate trade between Sohar

16 Port of Sohar 2013

and Muscat and the GCC, some mega road projects are being executed. The Al-Batinah 8-lane expressway is being completed to connect Sohar with Muscat and the UAE. Another key road network is the highway link between Sohar and Saudi Arabia. The section of this road in Omani territories is already completed with a customs check point at Ramlat A-Khailah on the Oman-Saudi Arabia border. We are following up the progress on the road link to Riyadh in Saudi Arabian territory. On the other hand, the construction of the airport in Sohar is in an advanced stage and is planned to become operational in early 2014. It will mainly serve cargo traffic but is able to land the largest air carriers in the world. Furthermore, design work of the rail link between Sohar and the border post of Buraimi is being handled as a priority thus facilitating the connection between Sohar and Abu Dhabi. With multi-modal connections to markets in the region, Sohar is poised to emerge as a “Gateway” hub. One other key development is the establishment of a real one stop shop for Government permits, visas and licenses and faster and easier customs procedures. These should be key marketing items of Sohar as a business-friendly hub for foreign and local investors and users. As to energy, it should be mentioned that infrastructure for gas, electricity and water is already available, with ample capacity for power and water supply. The elements above are critical factors for positioning Sohar Free Zone as the place to do business outside the Strait of Hormuz. Already a number of Ferro-chrome industries have started construction. Other projects underway include added value logistics, steel and metals manufacturing/ fabrication, food and agriculture. Light Industrial Units will be ready for rent soon. With the growth of container business and central distribution into the hinterland, we are looking at various interests for CFS operations. We also expect steel and aluminum downstream projects to take shape in 2013 having put in place already the necessary infrastructure for such opportunities. Moreover, the plan to establish a hub for grain and other essential food staples in the Port


of Sohar under the national food security program is being executed. This will give the opportunity for investments in food-related industries. The common denominator amongst these projects is the availability of a local (skilled) workforce. So besides the modern international maritime (and industrial) college already set up in the Port of Sohar, other similar projects are encouraged. Two nearby Government-owned technical colleges have already contributed to raising the skill levels of the young Omani workforce, which has allowed a number of international and local investors raise the levels of Omanis in their total workforce. However, Freezone Sohar is considered as a tool to create jobs through massive opportunities for the local business community and for creation of SME’s. This is particularly the case in the services sector, contracting and construction, real estate, retail and hospitality. In addition, the growth of the industrial development in Sohar has given rise to the right environmental controls, safety and security measures and the latest technologies for managing emergencies.

17 Port of Sohar 2013


Queen Beatrix in Sohar The city of Sindbad goes orange for one day

H.E. Stefan van Wersch The Netherlands Ambassador to Oman

W

hen Crown Prince WillemAlexander and Princess Máxima visited the Sultanate of Oman in January 2009, including the Port of Sohar, I had been in Oman for just 6 months. I was convinced that this visit would be the highlight of my tenure in the Sultanate. Not in my wildest imagination had I expected that I would receive Her Majesty Queen Beatrix herself, accompanied by Prince and Princess, even two times, for a private visit in March 2011 and a State Visit in 2012. Ever since the opening of a Netherlands Embassy in Oman almost 30 years ago, the relations between the two countries have deepened and become quite multipronged. The royal interest for the relations with the Sultanate eminently underlined the huge steps in the field of cooperation that have been taken in the last decades. For many years the main connotation that the Dutch would have with Oman was the presence of Royal Dutch Shell. Obviously the Anglo-Dutch energy giant is still of major

18 Port of Sohar 2013

importance in our relations. But meanwhile many Dutch are quite aware of our other big leg in Oman: the Port of Sohar, a 50-50 joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam and the Omani Government. The port is one of Oman’s mega-projects and part of its diversification policy. It is already an important employment creator, and is bound to become an even bigger jobs booster. This project is after all no longer just about the industrial port: the Freezone has been launched and work on the airport and railway connection is on track. “Gateway Sohar” is by now the more appropriate label for this mega-project. So, when the visit of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix was announced, it was a given that the Port would be a major element in the royal program. The royal program in Sohar was diverse. On the roof of the Jetty Cabin Her Majesty had a panoramic view of the entire port area, including the nearby jetty where the Vale ships deliver their iron ore. The Royals got a briefing about the port development and future developments as well as a briefing by two young Omanis on the challenges the Port faces in the field of environment and corporate social responsibility. It led to an intense dialogue between the Royals and the briefers. The Royals visited the Free Zone and received a full explanation on the strategy to develop the 4500 hectares with the support of the Port of Rotterdam. In addition the water cooperation between the two countries was highlighted. The “waterboxx”


model, a Dutch innovation to grow plants in arid environment, was launched. Subsequently the Royal Party moved on for a presentation by Omani representatives from the Water Resources Ministry and Dutch SME’s in the field of water and waste management. Particularly inspiring was the last event at the Freezone: the so-called “water challenge”. During State Visits the term “bilateral relations” is often mentioned, but this event focused on “doing bilateral relations”. Ten Dutch water students came all the way from Holland, ten Omani students were selected by the Sultan Qaboos University. During the ten days anterior to the State Visit, these students worked together in five mixed teams to prepare posters with creative solutions for five water challenges which the Sultanate faces. On the day of the Royal visit they presented their posters to Her Majesty, Prince and Princess. A mixed jury, headed by Professor Ruud Schotting, holder of the Sultan Qaboos Chair for quantitative water management at Utrecht University, and Dr Ahmed al Busaidi of the College of Agricultural & Marine Science at Sultan Qaboos University, decided on the awards. The poster on rainwater harvesting titled “Catch me if you can” won the award. Another poster with proposals for the treatment of groundwater pumped up together with oil caught the attention of PDO’s managing director Raoul Restucci, and is now being

followed up! But this event was not just about creative ideas. At least as inspiring were the friendship and cooperation these young people developed in a mere ten days. Just to be complete: just before leaving Sohar, the Royal Party also visited the International Maritime College Oman (IMCO), just outside of the Port where Her Majesty was received by H.E. Sheikh Abdullah al Bakri, Minister of Manpower and Dr Hilal al Hadhrami, Dean of the College, and a delegation from the Shipping and Transport College (STC) in Rotterdam. The welcome by the students from the balustrades was heart-warming. After a visit to the simulators, Queen, Prince and Princess had a remarkably frank discussion with six IMCO students on an array of issues. The discussion took an interesting turn when the students asked Her Majesty whether they could ask the Royal Party some questions. Again the frankness was striking. At the end of the discussion one student still had one urgent question for Crown Prince WillemAlexander: “Your Royal Highness, why are you called the Prince of Orange”? Thanks to the State Visit the Port of Sohar is now more than ever on the Dutch radar. It may not yet be a household name but people now know that important things are happening between Oman and the Netherlands. If one takes into account that only seven years ago the port area was just a piece of bare land, this may be called remarkable progress.

19 Port of Sohar 2013


Queen Beatrix in Sohar The city of Sindbad goes orange for one day

20 Port of Sohar 2013


21 Port of Sohar 2013


22 Port of Sohar 2013


Gateway Sohar Spurring job growth

“‘Gateway Sohar’ is the brand of our vision of the ‘Economic Zone of Sohar’, which has industrial and logistics arms to it, underpinned by one robust and dynamic customs regime and a common standard on Health-Safety-Security-Environment (HSSE) that is embedded and practiced across the entire zone.”

T

he clustering of Port of Sohar, Freezone Sohar and Sohar Industrial Estate into a unified economic zone, dubbed ‘Gateway Sohar’ has the potential to generate some 80,000 direct jobs and an estimated quarter of a million indirect jobs, according to Mr. Jamal T Aziz, CEO of Freezone Sohar “‘Gateway Sohar’ is the brand of our vision of the ‘Economic Zone of Sohar’. We would like to think of it as one economic zone which has the industrial and logistics arms to it, underpinned by one robust and dynamic customs regime and a common standard on Health-Safety-Security-Environment (HSSE) that is embedded and practiced across the entire zone. We would also like to offer One-Stop-Shop services that would help investors who come here focus on their core business,” the CEO explained.

The ‘Gateway Sohar’ concept, he said, has the potential to spawn the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as jobs on an immense scale. “Roughly speaking, when we look at the economic zone model, we are looking at perhaps 80,000 direct jobs when it’s fully developed. Add to that a factor of 3 in indirect employment opportunities, and you will see a wide distribution of jobs, with the transport cluster accounting for a big chunk, the industrial cluster contributing to a third, and the free zone playing a key part as well.”

investment in the free zone. Indeed, steel is an extremely strategic commodity for Oman with the potential to draw SMEs and create a lot of jobs. And when it comes to steel, we are ahead in Oman compared with others in this region, and we should build on this.” Another key area of focus is food production, towards which a substantial area of land – called the ‘Green Belt’ – has been allocated, according to the CEO. “We want to play a role in this field not only because it’s important from the food security point of view, but also because it fits nicely with the type of community that we’re part of in Batinah North. We would like to see fishermen and farmers involved in something more than just conventional fishing and farming. So food for us is an extremely strategic goal.” Also significant is the potential for investments in downstream petrochemicals, transshipment and re-export of chemicals and bulk liquids, exports of bulk minerals, mineral processing, and a host of other industrial commodities and processes. The presence at the industrial port of some of the world’s leading operators and service providers, such as Hutchison Whampoa, Oiltanking, and C. Steinweg, augurs well for efforts to attract investments into the Economic Zone of Sohar, he said. A key goal of the Gateway Sohar initiative, says Jamal, is to concentrate industrial and economic activity in one geographic area, thereby generating cargo volumes that would in turn attract major shipping lines to Sohar.

Jamal lists a number of factors that would contribute to the future success of the Gateway Sohar model. In particular, he singles out a steel-based industry as a key driver of economic opportunity and employment generation.

“We need to create critical mass (in terms of cargo volumes) in order to compete with well-established regional hubs and get the big ships to come to Sohar. One way to create volumes is to consolidate business in a certain geographical area. So when we integrate the whole Batinah (North and South) and Muscat governorates with one gateway port, it creates critical mass.” Significantly, the Gateway Sohar initiative also has the potential to serve Saudi Arabia, one of the Gulf’s biggest markets, through improved road connectivity. “A road leading to Saudi Arabia will make Sohar a more successful model as an export oriented distribution hub. Also with increasing volumes, we will see a lot of interaction with regional markets,” he said.

“Steel is one of the largest job generators among heavy industries,” says Jamal. “It requires the least amount of energy, but contributes the highest in terms of employment generation, especially if you go further downstream. With a major upstream iron ore project (now in operation in Sohar) along with industries that convert iron ore into steel, we see the potential for manufacturing and fabrication based

Besides, the gateway model will also have a favourable knockon effect on wilayats neighbouring Sohar. While the wilayats of Liwa and Shinas, located just north of the gateway, are ideally suited for tourism and recreational investment, those located below the gateway will benefit from real estate, commercial and retail investment, as well as urban development, the CEO added.

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Going for growth Edwin Lammers Executive Commercial Manager, Sohar Industrial Port Company

S

ohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) continues to pursue a proactive, aggressive and strategic approach to ensure its continued preeminence as Oman’s biggest maritime gateway. It’s a policy that has paid huge dividends since its joint venture partners – the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and the Port of Rotterdam – set out to develop one of Oman’s biggest economic undertakings on the Sea of Oman coast nearly a decade ago. Almost all of the estimated 2,000 hectares that make up this industrial and maritime hub are in use or already committed to investors, prompting SIPC to think ‘out-of-the-box’ to address what has essentially been an insatiable appetite for industrial land and services at this world-class gateway. Having recently overseen the commissioning and start-up of mega-ventures, such as the giant iron ore pelletising scheme of Vale Oman and its associated deepwater bulk jetty, SIPC has now lined up a string of equally landmark initiatives that will underpin the port’s continued growth over the long term. They include plans for a new Container Terminal, a reclamation scheme that will create new land for industrial development, dedicated agro-bulk terminal, new liquid jetty, a superior gate system for the port and free zone, and the further enhancement of marine services at anchorage. Many of these initiatives will begin to take root during 2013, opening up new opportunities for local and international investors, contractors, and service providers, says Mr. Edwin Lammers, Executive Commercial Manager, Port of Sohar.

Majees Reclamation Project: Billed as the biggest and most important of SIPC’s initiatives to grow the port’s business, the project entails the creation of up to 130 hectares of new land just outside the Southern Breakwater adjoining the tankage terminal of Oiltanking Odfjell Oman Terminals LLC. As a first step, a bund will be constructed connecting the Southern Breakwater with the seawater intake system that feeds the cooling water facilities of Majis Industrial Services Company (MISC). Construction work on the bund is scheduled to commence in the second quarter of 2013. Studies are underway to determine whether the reclamation should be undertaken in phases, depending upon market demand for industrial land, or completed in one go. The project has enormous significance for Sohar Port’s medium and long-term growth objectives, according to Mr. Lammers. “With the current expansion of Orpic’s Sohar refinery project, we are quickly running out of land to offer interested investors in the port area. The Majees Reclamation Project

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will partly address this issue through the creation of around 130 hectares of additional land. Within 24 to 30 months, we will see new industrial development beginning to take shape on this reclaimed land. It will open up opportunities for new developments, including the recently agreed venture for a PTA / PET project by Oman Oil Company and LG. Besides, Oiltanking Odfjell too has plans to expand its capacity.”


A major land reclamation project and a new container terminal designed to cater to a new generation of giant containerships are among an array of landmark initiatives due to get under way during 2013 as Sohar Port continues to leverage its vantage location outside the Arabian Gulf to attract new investors.

Agro-Bulk Terminal: With a view to supporting the Omani government’s food security strategy, Sohar Port is earmarking a prime waterfront stretch for the establishment of a dedicated Agro-Bulk Terminal to serve the objectives of the Public Authority

for Strategic Food Reserves (PASFR). The terminal will be developed along the quay that will soon be vacated by Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) when a world-scale container terminal is fully operational at the northern end of the quay wall. The Agro-Bulk Terminal will also cater to the shipping requirements of a new sugar refinery that is proposed to come up at Sohar Port.

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Container Terminal 2: Construction work will commence in 2013 of a second container terminal designed to cater to OICT’s projected growth needs, as well as enable Sohar Port to handle a new generation of mega containerships. “The new terminal will give OICT more space for their operations, extend their quay length, and enable the installation of seven cranes, including three giant quay cranes designed to handle some of the largest containerships in operation today. Currently, we can accommodate container vessels of about 6,500 TEUs, but with the installation of these new quay cranes, the port will be equipped to handle ships of 10,000 – 11,000 TEU capacity. This upgrade would open up more opportunities for mainline ships to call directly at Sohar, starting from the second half of 2013,” Mr. Lammers said. Significantly, OICT’s planned move from its current container terminal to the 2nd Container Terminal will also allow for C. Steinweg Oman, which operates a multipurpose general cargo terminal at Sohar Port, to expand its facilities.

New Liquid Jetty: A new Liquid Jetty will be added to Sohar Port to cater for an anticipated rise in liquid cargoes fuelled in large part by a strong uptake of bulk storage capacity at the central tank terminal operated by Oiltanking Odfjell. The new jetty, designed

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to cater for product tankers of up to 120,000 deadweight tons (DWT), will further reinforce Sohar Port’s standing as an emerging liquids hub at the entrance to the Arabian Gulf. “We are right now in the design phase of the New Liquid Jetty project. Towards the second half of 2013, we expect to finalise the detailed design and start the tendering for the construction, which should commence either during summer,” said Mr. Lammers. The new Liquid Jetty project will lead to a further expansion of the capacity of the port’s liquid jetty complex, currently comprising a total of six berths. The Oiltanking-Odfjell joint venture manages the jetty complex on behalf of the port. All six berths, two of which are dedicated for the operations of Orpic’s Sohar Refinery, have witnessed strong growth in tanker calls, driven primarily by a surge in demand for the bulk liquid storage facilities offered by Oiltanking-Odfjell at the port. Oiltanking-Odfjell, which specializes in the bulk handling and storage of clean petroleum products, chemicals and gases, has seen the capacity of its tank terminal grow by leaps and bounds since its launch in 2008. Starting with 842,500 cubic metres (cbm) of storage capacity at launch, the terminal was expanded shortly thereafter to cater for 425,000 cbm of new capacity. In July this year, Oiltanking-Odfjell brought a further 27,300 cbm of new capacity into operation, taking its total capacity to a world-class 1,297,800 cbm. “There is a lot of demand for the services of Oiltanking-Odfjell, very likely because of the location. They have a lot of plans to


With the Omani government preparing to embark on the establishment of a national rail system, Sohar Port is doing its groundwork to ensure that its facilities are well-integrated with the network and the GCC rail system beyond.

expand. But while they can look at expanding on the landside, we would also need to cater for the growth in vessel calls,” Lammers said. Importantly, the expansion of the port’s Liquid Terminal will also enable Oiltanking-Odfjell to cater for the terminaling requirements of a major Bitumen Refinery planned at the Port of Sohar. Bahrain’s Mashael Group has plans to develop a 1 million tons per annum capacity bitumen processing refinery at the industrial port with an investment of around $200 million. The new jetty is slated to be brought into operation in early 2015.

Marine Services: As maritime traffic at the industrial port continues to grow by leaps and bounds, SIPC envisions significant opportunity for the expansion of the range of marine services for the benefit of vessels calling at anchorage. For want of such services, notably bunkering, crew change, and supplies, ships typically proceed to ports elsewhere along the Gulf – an opportunity that Sohar Port is eager to exploit. An estimated 2,000 vessels called at Sohar during 2012, a figure that is projected to exceed 3,000 in the coming years. “We wish to utilise our assets at the anchorage area to provide marine services to ships that do not call as part of the captive business of the port. In the process, we will be opening up opportunities for service providers, which in turn will have a

positive knock-on effect on businesses operating across the supply chain.”

Rail connectivity: With the Omani government preparing to embark on the establishment of a national rail system, Sohar Port is doing its groundwork to ensure that its facilities are well-integrated with the network and the GCC rail system beyond. Over the past three years, SIPC has been working to build its own inhouse expertise in anticipation of the roll-out of the national network. The landlord-operator has been working with Vale, OICT and Steinweg on some basic alignments to determine how the port will be suitably connected with the national system. “We are now preparing for a more intensive study with assistance from a Dutch company to ensure that rail connectivity with the port and free zone is optimized,” said Mr. Lammers. Further, in conjunction with this effort, SIPC is also working to ensure improved rail connectivity with Abu Dhabi, the Executive Commercial Manager explains. “We have had some contacts with Etihad Railway of Abu Dhabi with a view to exploring how we can connect with their rail network for the ultimate benefit of customers here at Sohar and there in Abu Dhabi. It’s still early days, but we are eager to optimise on the benefits offered by enhanced rail connectivity.”

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The Omani Water Business Leader in Industrial Areas Majis Industrial Services S.A.O.C

Looking at the longer term partnership

An experienced multinational team

Majis Industrial Services (Majis) was established in 2006 to provide water services to Oman’s growing industrial port in Sohar. Majis started its operations by providing seawater for cooling purposes to the tenants of Sohar Industrial Port Area (SIPA) and has since grown to become a one-stop water utility solutions provider.

One of Majis’ strengths lies in its experienced multinational team (without compromising on Omanization which is at 80%), comprising of continuously assessed and trained employees who are skilled to provide customer oriented world-class services.

Building on its successful partnership with the Sohar Industrial Port, Majis became in 2012, the exclusive water and waste solutions provider in Sohar Free Zone. Its unique expertise has made Majis the benchmark in the water business within industrial areas of Oman.

Since December 2010, Majis has built up a strategic alliance with Azaliya, a subsidiary of Veolia Water, the global benchmark in the design, construction and operation of water and wastewater services facilities.

“Wholly owned by the Government of Oman, Majis while not looking for short-term profit, is committed to playing a unique role by providing reliable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly water utility solutions and by establishing long-term partnership with its customers,” said Engineer Rahma AlMushrafi, CEO of Majis Industrial Services.“

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A strategic alliance for a world-class solution

Through this alliance, Azaliya carries out O&M services whilst Majis takes advantage of Veolia’s worldwide resources and expertise to provide tailor-made solutions across the whole industrial spectrum using a wide variety of the latest technologies. These include consultancy services for diagnosis and troubleshooting, equipment supply for treatment, and long-term


operation and maintenance of clients’ own water facilities. The Majis/Veolia partnership focuses on gathering local and global expertise to provide the best solutions in the most efficient manner and train Majis’ Omani employees on the best practices in water utility management. Contributing to the sustainable industrial growth of Oman Majis is playing a key role in promoting the industrial development of Oman and the preservation of the environment. The environmental management of industrial areas is one of the crucial challenges faced by such sites. Although the industries can bring major social and economic benefits to the country and to the local communities, a planned and comprehensive strategy has to be put in place in order to mitigate the impact on the environment and to guarantee a sustainable development.

Recycling domestic and industrial effluents Recycling Domestic Wastewater Majis owns an extensive sewage collection network within SIPA with lifting stations, gravity and pressurized mains transporting wastewater to a Sewage Treatment Plan (STP). After preliminary treatment to remove oil and suspended solids, a biological secondary stage removes pollutants and reduces biological and chemical oxygen demand. A tertiary stage with dual media filters further reduces suspended solids before final chlorination. The reclaimed water meets Omani and international standards for use in irrigation or for dust suppression purposes. Recycling Industrial Effluents Majis is building a dedicated collection network and a Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) to collect pre-treated industrial effluents in order to treat them further and re-use them for landscaping or as process water for the industries. Win-win scenario By the end of 2013 Majis will be in a position to produce 2,300 m³/day of irrigation water by collecting, treating and recycling domestic and industrial effluent produced within SIPA and Sohar Free Zone (SFZ). Currently, most of the tenants are using potable water for landscaping, dust suppression or for their industrial requirements, although potable water is subsidised by the Government only for drinking purposes to make it affordable to the entire national community.The process of increasing

Key figures Water utility assets with a capital investment of US$135 million, which is expected to double in 3-4 years Serving 100% of the tenants of SIPA 334,000 m3/hr of seawater extraction 60,000 m3/hr of seawater delivery capacity 40,000 m3/day process water delivery network 8,000 m3/day of potable water delivery network 3,000 m3/day of wastewater treatment facility 1,000 m3/day of irrigation water network

the production of irrigation water and extending the network within the SIPA is a win-win scenario for the tenants, Majis and the environment at large. The use of irrigation water should be considered by the industries as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Operating the largest seawater pumping station in Oman Currently Majis supplies seawater for non-contact cooling purposes to its customers at SIPA. The existing seawater facilities of 334,000 m³/hour include a 700-metre-long intake channel, a pumping station, an electro-chlorination plant (with a production capacity of 702 kg/hour), and a return canal through which the extracted water is discharged to the open sea after being used by the industrial customers of the Sohar Industrial Port Area. On-site manufactured chlorine is added at the intake in the form of sodium hypochlorite, acting as a biocide to reduce fouling in the downstream pipework and process plant of the customers. Prior to the construction of the facilities, Environmental Impact Assessment studies were carried out to ensure that there are no adverse effects to the environment. Building a second seawater pumping station To accompany its customers’ expansion plans, Majis will start the construction of a Second Seawater Pumping Station (SWIPS 2). The project schedule will be in line with our customers’ development plans and is expected to double the existing capacity by 2015. On completion of the expansion project, Majis will have the capability to provide an uninterrupted supply of about 600,000 m³/hour of seawater for non-contact process cooling

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and desalination applications to the industries in the Sohar Industrial Port Area.

Building a Reverse Osmosis desalination plant Majis at present supplies process water to its customers at SIPA procured from third parties. In order to supply this water in a competitive and more reliable manner, Majis decided to build its own desalination plant using Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. At a project cost of almost OMR 20 million, the contract was awarded at the end of 2010. The plant when commissioned will produce 8,000 m³/day of process water for the industrial customers and 12,000 m³/day of potable water for the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW). The plant has been designed in such a way that after a few years when process water demand at SIPA is expected to rise, the potable water lanes can be converted back to produce process water. The scheme addresses short term needs of PAEW as well as meeting long term strategy for process water at SIPA. The RO plant is also designed to handle “Red Tide” caused by Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) which is becoming frequent even in the warmer waters of the Sea of Oman. HABs can cause irreparable damage to downstream processes at the customer end. This happened in 2009 and caused some industrial units

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to shut down. Majis has incorporated in the RO design, latest state-of-the-art pretreatment process using membrane technology. This Microfiltration Plant will be capable of operating even during “Red Tide” occurrence without the need to change the raw water supply source.

Expanding activities to Sohar Free Zone On the 29th of May 2012, the Sohar Free Zone and Majis Industrial Services (Majis) signed a Water Services Agreement. Through this agreement Free Zone Sohar granted Majis the exclusive rights to provide water services for phase 1 (about 500 hectares) of the Free Zone. The services include providing potable and process water as well as collection and treatment of wastewater. The Free Zone Sohar has recently attracted several large and medium sized industries, among which are two ferrochrome smelters, which will require significant amounts of industrial process water.

Mastering safety and risk Placing environment, security and safety as top priorities, Majis and its strategic partner Azaliya have put high standard HSE policies and practices into all its Operations and Maintenance activities.Seeking for innovative and environmentally friendly solution and consistently seeking innovative solutions, Majis


has contracted DNV KEMA a Dutch company to carry out tests to see if Pulse-Chlorination® (P-C) would be a worthwhile method of chlorinating the incoming seawater. Pulse-Chlorination® (P-C).is a cost-effective intermittent dosing regime, for bio fouling mitigation of oncePulse through cooling seawater systems. It chlorination? combines optimal fouling control with minimal chlorine discharge, while This system is retaining safe and reliable plant meant to lead to the operations and has successfully physiological exhaustion and subsequently death of been implemented worldwide the mussels by provoking their through on-site field tests at frequent opening and closure industries ranging from oil and through short successive gas, nuclear and conventional periods of chlorination, power plants. altering with periods without chlorine. The P-C tests are carried out in a mobile laboratory during a period of six weeks at the sea water intake. During this period the optimal dosing regime will be determined by using a Mussel Monitor (MM) device. The MM is one of the most validated “Biological Early Warning Systems” for marine waters using valve movement response of bivalves (e.g. mussels or oysters). The principle is based on the measurement of the inductive distance between two sensors, attached to the bivalve to determine their behaviour. By monitoring the

behavior, the most effective dosing regime is determined using minimal chlorine. The effective FRC concentrations in the system will not be higher compared to the existing continuous concentrations. This will result in an on/off dosing regime which will prevent bio fouling settlement and related problems. With the implementation of P-C, the “chlorine” discharges are as low as reasonably practical and result therefore in less environmental impact compared with a continuous chlorine dosing regime.

Majis within the community Majis has established strong partnerships with universities and is targeting to build up sustainable ties in order to support and assist their research departments in the near future. In addition, many pre-graduate students are welcomed and receive on-the-job training with Majis every year. Majis has a strong sense of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the effect it can have on business and the community. Majis views CSR as part of its working practice aimed at addressing social issues by creating shared values between its business and community. It believes that such a strategy will lead to a sustainable environment where Business and Community can work together in improving the overall benefits to society.

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Sohar Chronicle Highlights of the year gone by...

Batinah farmers’ cooperative wins award The Agricultural Association for Al Batinah Farmers was bestowed with the prestigious Al Roya Business Award for Best Civil Society Project in recognition of a signature incomegenerating project developed by Omran in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. ‘Intajee’ was designed to support the growth of existing agricultural micro-businesses by helping farmers in Al Batinah effectively harvest, package and market their goods which are then sold back to the community or to the general public at different retail outlets. “This award is a testament to the unrelenting efforts by the Ministry and Omran to promote public-private partnerships that prompts long-term sustainable value in the community,” said Saed Abdullah Rashid al Kharousi, Chairman of the Agricultural Association for Al Batinah Farmers. “The most important aspect of this programme is that it instills a measure of self-sufficiency to empower farmers and families with the tools, skill sets and resources to improve their livelihoods in a manner that best complements existing businesses and the nature of the local society.” More than 1,000 locally sourced, home-made Omani products ranging from dates, fruits and vegetables to eggs, poultry, dairy products and honey were sold out within the first week of their debut. The seven-phase project led by Omran, the government’s tourism development, investment and asset management arm, carefully examined every aspect of micro-businesses to correctly engineer the program, first beginning with visits by the Directorate of Agriculture Development to existing farms in Wilayat Al Musannah to assess local capacities and business opportunities. Incorporated in 2005, the Agricultural Association for Al Batinah Region Farmers provides invaluable support to their enrolled producers. Under charter by the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries and with their approval, they research, introduce and provide guidelines and information on modern agricultural technologies, efficient irrigation systems, seeds, environmentally friendly pesticides and packaging & transportation. (11th Feb 2012)

‘Northern Star – 1’ - live oil spill response exercise Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) in cooperation with Oman PESCO LLC, a well-known provider of environmental protection

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and oil spill response services, conducted a live oil spill response exercise in order to test the emergency preparedness and response capabilities of the Port. Codenamed ‘Northern Star 1’, the exercise saw the participation of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Sohar Environmental Unit, Royal Oman Police, C. Steinweg Oman Terminal and other Port of Sohar tenants. The exercise scenario featured an imaginary spill that resulted from a rupture in the transfer line due to excessive pressure while a vessel alongside the berth was conducting a bunkering operation. The SIPC Emergency Management Team and the Oman PESCO Oil Spill Response Team carried out assigned tasks in a professional and timely manner that drew the admiration of officials representing the participating authorities and port tenants. The successful outcome of the drill was a testament to Sohar Port’s leadership position in establishing credible response mechanisms within the maritime sector in the Sultanate. It was also the first in a series of exercises that will be conducted at regular intervals at the industrial port aimed at enhancing emergency preparedness in response to contingencies of different kinds. Lieutenant Colonel Juma’a al Sa’adi, the Officer In-charge of the Oil & Gas Installation Security Police Station in Sohar Industrial Port, commented: “The level of preparedness displayed by both Port of Sohar and the response company was distinguished.” Mr. Suwaid Al Shamaisi, SIPC’s Executive Manager for Corporate Affairs, said the exercise was put together in line with SIPC’s social responsibility commitments, adding that the event provided a valuable “platform to enhance the interaction and cooperation between the various stakeholders and relevant parties”. Eng. Abdul Hakeem Al Harthy from the Oil Pollution Operations Centre at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, said: “It is well known that oil spill incidents can have catastrophic consequences on the environment. As such, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs has established the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) which also advocates multiorganisational response drills as part of its national strategy.” Mr. Ayman M. Naguib, Crisis Management and Oil Spill Response Consultant, praised the outcome of the drill. “Port of Sohar adopts a serious policy based on scientific methodologies that warrant the necessary level of preparedness to deal with various emergency situations, including oil spills. The policy adopted by the Port is based on sound emergency planning and proactive measures rather than a reactive response. The response framework adopted by the Port relies on the development of trained and qualified


response cadres, in addition to the provision of specialised response equipment in line with international standards. Furthermore, a comprehensive training and exercising programme has been designed to cover personnel of the port and its tenants.” (5th May 2012)

Supporting sustainable growth in the Batinah agro sector Brazilian mining conglomerate Vale in partnership with Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and University Federal Viçosa (UFV), the leading agricultural educational institute in Brazil and South America, are exploring advanced biotechnologies and cutting-edge preventative measures to improve the cultivation of Mango and Lime trees in Batinah North and South Governorates. A delegation from SQU led by Vice Chancellor Dr Ali Al Bimani visited Vale’s Industrial Complex in Sohar where the two parties discussed the progression and latest developments in the study of the main diseases affecting the crops including the Mango Wilt and Witches’ Broom to identify measures for the establishment of a robust and sustainable agricultural sector. “With over 60 years of experience in dealing with Mango Wilt and Lime diseases, Brazil has learned to manage these challenges and develop an internationally renowned Mango production industry. We realized the similarities between the two nations and sought to create a cross-border collaboration that will benefit the communities surrounding our project by instituting a more productive, better managed and highly

efficient cropping regime,” said Marcos Beluco, Vale Country Manager. “At Vale, we view ourselves as a catalyst for local sustainable development. We therefore invest in the responsible, integrated management of economic, environmental and social challenges to produce prosperity where we operate, creating a positive legacy throughout the life cycle of our activities.” The four-year investigative research aims to combine the technological know-how from Brazil with in-depth knowledge of the local climate, growth patterns and techniques from the Sultanate’s experts. The study will determine the best practices for efficient crop irrigation, nutrition and pruning while also investigating possible ways to better manage the diseases by screening rootstocks and varieties that resist the pathogens and tolerate the weather conditions in Oman. To that end, a delegation from Sultan Qaboos University is scheduled to visit UFV later on in the year to analyze the findings from the research and set the action plan for the next year. Building national capacities, Vale, in coordination with the Office of External Cooperation at SQU and various government organizations, is preparing for a group of local farmers from Al Batinah to travel to Brazil and observe first-hand the techniques and technologies adopted by Brazilian farmers. In addition, a student exchange programme between the educational institutions allows for youngsters to be provided with the opportunity to train and gain extensive agricultural experience at the grass-root level. (20th May 2012)

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Jusoor Foundation to bridge investors and local community Three of Sohar Port’s largest industrial schemes came together to set up Jusoor Foundation (Bridges) to align their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes in the interest of local communities. The not-for-profit organization was set by Sohar Aluminium, Vale Oman and ORPIC with Dr. Hamad bin Hashim al Dhahab as its CEO. The Foundation will be managed by a board of directors made up the CEOs of the three founders, representatives of the local community and government, and local community figures. The Foundation will focus on four key areas: Employment and entrepreneurship, Job-oriented education, Sports, Culture and Sports, Heritage, Health and Environment. (19th May 2012)

Jusoor sponsors mass weddings at Sohar and Liwa Jusoor, a community development initiative jointly founded by Sohar Aluminium, Vale Oman and ORPIC, sponsored a pair of mass weddings in honour of a total of 210 Omani grooms over two consecutive weekends in June 2012. While Sohar Club played host to one set of nuptial ceremonies for 60 grooms from Sohar, Majees Club followed suit with a similar event for 150 grooms from Liwa. Both events were organized in coordination with the Walis of Sohar and Liwa, as well as representatives of the Majlis Ash’shura from the two wilayats. Dr Hamed Hashim Al Dhahab, Chief Executive Officer of Jusoor Foundation, commented, “Jusoor is pleased to sponsor this joyful initiative in order to enable the local community to partake of this happy occasion. Our support for such initiatives stems from the desire of our founders to be fully engaged with the community.”

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Jusoor is dedicated to the implementation of social projects for community upliftment in North Al Batinah Governorate in particular, and the Sultanate in general, in cooperation with government authorities. (20th June 2012)

Artificial Reef Project handed over in Liwa Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) hosted a ceremony at its head office to mark the handover of its Artificial Reef Project in the Wilayat of Liwa. Mr. Andre Toet, Group CEO of Port of Sohar, formally handed over the project to His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Salim Al Aghbari, Wali of Liwa, in the presence of a number of local dignitaries. The initiative centres on the installation of reef balls on the seafloor off Harmool Village in the wilayat. It was conceived, developed and implemented in conjunction with the construction of an offshore Bulk Jetty in front of the port. The artificial reef’s innovative design allowed for the re-use of waste construction material from the Bulk Jetty project. In addition to the main artificial reef structure, around 40 large reef balls were also installed as part of the initiative. As with artificial reefs, the Sohar Port initiative is aimed at spurring the growth of coral reefs, which serve as underwater nurseries for a variety of fish and aquatic species. They also contribute to the growth of fish stocks in these coastal waters. As part of the project, Port of Sohar has also decided to partner with a leading educational institute in Sohar in order to monitor the development of the reef and the marine life around it. The initiative was put together in consultation with the local communities, as well as the National Hydrographic Office, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs. (25th June 2012)


Summer Educational Programme launched

Port of Sohar receives 1,000th vessel of 2012

Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) launched the Summer Educational Programme at a ceremony held at Sohar International School earlier this week under the auspices of Shaikh Hamad Salim al Aghbari, Wali of Liwa.

As the nation celebrated the 42nd Renaissance anniversary, Port of Sohar welcomed its 1,000th vessel of the year on 23rd July 2012, marking yet another milestone in its growth. The 9,000 metric ton MV Maria, owned and operated by SAL Heavy Lift GmbH, berthed at the container terminal C. Steinweg Oman (CSO). On board was a 300-ton gas turbine for installation at a new power plant then under construction in the Batinah area.

An agreement to this effect was signed by Mr. Andre Toet, Group CEO of Port of Sohar and Patrick Rambarun, Sohar International School’s Director. Also present at the signing were Engineer Jamal Tawfeeq Aziz, CEO Sohar Free Zone and Deputy CEO Sohar Industrial Port Company, as well as dignitaries from the Education and Training Directorate General – North Al Batinah. The initiative is part of SIPC’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme for 2012 and was designed to enhance cooperation with the local community at all levels. It aimed to develop the skills of students in computers and the English language, besides offering participants the opportunity to do something useful during the summer break. The programme ran from 23rd June to 18th July, 2012, targeting 250 outstanding students from 28 schools from Liwa and Sohar of Grades 3 to 11 (girls and boys). It was conducted at Sohar International School, accredited as the Cambridge University’s member since 2006, by Oman Education & Training Investment Company. Mr. Andre Toet, Group CEO of Port of Sohar, said: “The management of SIP Group is proud and pleased to launch these useful programmes and trust the benefits that the participated students will gain will help them in their education field.SIP Group always tries to strengthen and enhance ties with the local community and believes in the importance of training and education for future leaders which will impact on the development of the future industries in Sohar Industrial Port and Sohar Free Zone.” (25th June 2012)

The arrival of the 1,000th vessel this early in the year augured well for a significant increase in ship calls during 2012. When compared with figures for 2011, Port of Sohar received its 1,000th vessel in September 2011, notching up a tally of 1,474 calls by year’s end. Mr. Andre Toet, CEO of Port of Sohar, said the milestone was a reflection of the significant and across-the-board improvement in the port’s overall performance. “The berthing of the 1000th vessel at Port of Sohar is a proud moment for the port and a testament to the great teamwork of officials from Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC), the efficient container terminal and the shipping lines. Indeed, the 23rd of July is an historic day as it celebrates three milestones: the 42nd Renaissance Day, the 1000th vessel call, and the 10th anniversary of Port of Sohar.” (23rd July 2012)

Sohar Port’s 5th Ramadhan football tournament concludes Under the auspices of Shaikh Naif bin Humood al Mamari, Deputy Wali of Sohar, and Shaikh Saif bin Mohamed al Ghaithi, Deputy Wali of Liwa, the grand final of the Sohar Industrial Port Football Cup was held at the Arabi Club in Sohar.

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Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC) was defeated 1-0 by Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) in the final. A total of 32 teams from the Port of Sohar and the Sohar Industrial Area played in the tournament, which began on July 28, 2012.

locations within the governorate. Suitable facilities for the handling, collection, management and disposal of liquid and gaseous wastes will be incorporated into the project. When operational, all 70 existing dumpsites in the governorate will be phased out. (22nd October 2012)

Staged annually since 2008, the Sohar Industrial Port Football Cup was organised by Sohar Industrial Port Company SAOC in cooperation with Al Arabi football club in Sohar.

Research project assesses training needs of Batinah fishermen

Suwaid al Shemaisi, Executive Manager Corporate Affairs at SIPC, stated that the tournament not only promotes sport and healthy lifestyles but also encourages companies in the port to get together in friendly competition during the holy month of Ramadhan (15th Aug 2012)

A team of researchers representing Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and Sohar University travelled to Finland to present the initial findings of their research on training needs analysis of fishermen on the Batinah coast of Oman.

Central landfill for North Al Batinah Oman Environmental Services Holding Co (OESHC), the government agency overseeing the restructuring and privatization of the solid waste sector in the Sultanate, has begun the process of establishing an engineered landfill along with a network of waste transfer stations to serve the North Al Batinah Governorate. His Excellency Sultan bin Hamdoun al Harthy, Chairman of Muscat Municipality, Board Chairman of OESHC, said the initiative was in keeping with the governorate’s positioning as an emerging industrial, commercial and logistics hub anchored by a world-class maritime gateway. Furthermore, its geographical, natural and tourism attributes, as well as its sizable population size, also made it imperative that utilities, infrastructure facilities and services were commensurate with the governorate’s importance, he added. Plans drawn up by OESHCO envisage a modern, central landfill integrated with up to six waste transfer stations set up at key

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Dr. Rakesh Belwal, Principal Investigator for this project at the Faculty of Business of Sohar University, and Dr Omar Al Jabri, Co-investigator from the College of Agriculture of Fisheries at SQU, reported their findings at a symposium organized by the European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisory Commission (EIFAAC) in Hämeenlinna. Supported by The Research Council of Oman (TRC), the project has completed the first phase of investigations. “In this phase, a team of 18 students comprising female and male students from Sohar University surveyed 1934 fishermen working on the coast using a structured questionnaire,” said Dr. Belwal. “The initial findings are interesting and will give us a good framework to identify the actual training needs of Batinah fishermen for a good livelihood and a sustainable fishing sector. Fishing represents one of the important sectors in Oman and is a key to addressing the local food security needs. Our research findings will help the fishermen groups and fisheries sector to develop and contribute to the national economy,” added Dr Al Jabri. (23rd October 2012)


From the first private sector port in India…

to...India’s first private sector railway line...

to...India’s first world-class and worldsize maritime shipyard...

...meet SKIL India The company that believes in pioneering infrastructure As a company, SKIL’s vision and expertise lies in identifying growth-oriented Greenfield and Brownfield projects in infrastructure, education and defence sectors. The company then implements them through strong associations with experienced entities, thereby generating returns for all investors. Since 1990, the SKIL Group has successfully promoted the ‘first of its kind’ infrastructure projects in India. They include, the Port of Pipavav, a truly modern, private sector all-weather, deep water port and Pipavav Shipyard Limited, containing the country’s largest dry dock. SKIL also has successfully completed the prestigious project of developing India’s first private sector railway line of over 270 kms.

Infrastructure Limited SKIL House, 209, Bank Street Cross Lane, Off Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 023, India. Telephone: +91 22 6619 9000 Fax: +91 22 2269 6023 E-mail: contact@skilgroup.co.in 37 Port of Sohar 2013


Meet SKIL India

The Company that believes in pioneering infrastructure.

From the first private sector port in India… to...India’s first private sector railway line.

Meet SKIL India

The company that believes in pioneering infrastructure

F

rom its inception in 1990 till today, SKIL Infrastructure Ltd (SKIL), a private sector Company, has found itself in the limelight for its unmatched ability of successfully taking on and completing mammoth infrastructure projects on a grand scale throughout India. From ports to shipyards, railway lines, expressways and urban infrastructure - including Special Economic Zones –SKIL handles projects that are strategically critical to urban planning or national security. As a company, SKIL’s vision and expertise lies in identifying growth-oriented Greenfield and Brownfield projects in infrastructure, education and defence sectors. The company then implements them through strong associations with experienced entities, thereby generating returns for all investors. Project time and cost are commitments the company adheres to in the strictest way imaginable. Yes, they have a trade secret. It is the fact that SKIL knows that infrastructure projects typically require an ability to sustain long development periods. That’s why the company shored up their acumen and strength in these areas allowing them to bear initial risks associated with such projects with relative comfort and ease. Today SKIL develops the project concept, bears the initial risk and supervises each and every growth stage, be it design or engineering, or the involvement of EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractors to take the project to successful and timely completion. Since 1990, the SKIL Group has successfully promoted the ‘first of its kind’ infrastructure projects in India. Predicting the privatisation of ports, in 1991, SKIL joined hands with the Government of Gujarat to develop and promote the Port of Pipavav. Pipavav is a truly modern, all-weather, deep water port located between Mumbai and Kandla. It is also the first private sector port in India. SKIL also has successfully completed the prestigious project of developing India’s first private sector railway line of over 270 kms. Not to mention, a private sector road in Gujarat.

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Pipavav Shipyard Limited is India’s first world-class and worldsize maritime shipyard, having state-of-the-art integrated infrastructure with highly automated systems and equipment. It is located at one of the most advantageous sites in Gujarat, adjacent to India’s first private sea port, with natural break water, the shortest navigation channel and a deep draft. It also contains the country’s largest dry dock. The integrated infrastructure is spread over an area of 782 acres of land, including 257 acres of developed water front land. The facilities provided include: • Dry dock admeasuring 662 x 65 meters (2nd largest in the world); • 2nd dock admeasuring 740 x 60 meters (under construction); • 2 goliath cranes having a combined lifting capacity of 1200 tonnes; • Facilities to construct single vessels up to 400,000 DWT; • State-of-the-art engineering and fabrication yard under shed spread over 235 acres with a developed area of 2 million square feet; and • Modular construction of vessels. SKIL has also pioneered the SEZ concept in India. Along with the Reliance Group, the company is developing India’s largest SEZ at Navi Mumbai, near Mumbai, India’s financial centre. Pioneering SEZs, roads, railways, shipyards and ports, SKIL is surging full steam ahead to bring about a revolution in the global infrastructure space.


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Since commencing operations at its world scale plant in Sohar in December 2007 OMC has been producing over 3000 metric tonnes per day of high quality refined methanol. The majority of the production is exported to global markets. Methanol is a key chemical intermediate used extensively in fuel sectors and in a broad range of industrial products and applications including formaldehyde resins, acetic acid, and polyesters. OMC is committed to achieving the highest standards of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) in everything we do to make sure that we work in a safe and healthy workplace. The Company has a high proportion of Omani staff. Our comprehensive training program is designed to develop individual skills and competencies of our staff. Oman Methanol Company LLC (OMC) is a Joint Venture between Oman Methanol Holding Company LLC, a division of Omar Zawawi Establishment (Omzest) and Methanol Holdings International Limited (MHIL).

P.O. Box 474, Postal Code 322, Falaj Al Qabail, Sultanate of Oman Tel.: +968 2686 5800 Fax: +968 2685 0540 Email: methanol@omanmethanol.com Website: www.omanmethanol.com


Petrochemicals Cluster > Oman Oil refineries & petrochemical Industries Co. (ORPIC) > Sohar International Urea & Chemical Industries SAOC (SIUCI)


Sustaining the crude to wealth saga

Long the jewel in the crown of Oman’s multibillion dollar refining and petrochemicals industry, Orpic is set to retain its pre-eminence as the nation’s flagship refiner thanks to a planned major expansion of its Sohar complex.

T

here is no underestimating the pivotal role that Orpic – Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company – plays in keeping the wheels of the Omani economy literally in motion.

Besides meeting almost all of the country’s requirement of motor fuels, jet fuel and other refined products, the company’s aromatics and polypropylene plants are an important source of chemical feedstock for Oman and the wider world. Additionally, exports from its refining and petrochemical units generate valuable foreign currency earnings. Indeed, few if any Omani industrial schemes can match Orpic’s contributions – in both scope and scale – to the national economy. Now, three years since it was formally established as the new face of the country’s refining and related petrochemical industry, Orpic is poised for a further spell of ambitious growth. The state-owned company plans to invest in excess of $1.5 billion in a major expansion of its refinery plant at Sohar, designed not only to boost the output of fuels, but also enhance the quality of its chemical by-products. In addition to securing the country’s escalating fuel needs over the long term, the expansion is also expected to provide new impetus to downstream projects in and around the industrial port.

42 Port of Sohar 2013

Orpic

Created from the integration of three companies – Oman Refineries and Petrochemicals Company LLC (ORPC), Aromatics Oman LLC (AOL) and Oman Polypropylene (OPP) – Orpic is one of Oman’s largest companies and also one of the fastest growing businesses in the Middle East’s oil industry. Its principal shareholders are the Omani government and Oman Oil Company SAOC, the wholly government owned energy investment vehicle. Orpic oversees an integrated complex essentially made up of four distinct plants operating at two different locations – Mina Al Fahal (Muscat) and Sohar. The two sites are linked by a 266-kilometre pipeline that delivers long residue as feedstock from the Mina Al Fahal Refinery to the Sohar site. The feedstock, which is blended with Omani crude, is then processed by Orpic’s Sohar Refinery plant to create a range of fuels, naphtha and propylene. Together, the two refineries have a production capacity of 222,000 barrels of crude oil per day – 116,000 b/d at Sohar and the balance made up by Mina Al Fahal. The crude oil is processed into liquid petroleum gas (LPG), regular / premium gasoline, kerosene / jet A-1 fuel, gas oil (diesel), bunker fuel oil, low sulphur gas oil and other refined products. Also produced


are significant volumes of naphtha and propylene that serve as feedstock for the associated aromatics and polypropylene plants of Orpic. As the sole supplier of petroleum products to the domestic market, Orpic’s foremost objective is to ensure an adequate and uninterrupted flow of fuels catering to all segments of the market – automotive, aviation, marine, industrial, commercial, and consumer elements. While LPG is lifted by three bottling companies for domestic distribution, the principal fuels – gasoline, jet fuel and diesel – are marketed by omanoil, Shell and Al Maha. Surplus volumes are sold internationally via an arrangement with Oman Trading International (OTI), the Sultanate’s international energy trading arm.

Value-addition Naphtha produced by Orpic’s refineries serves as feedstock for the adjoining Aromatics Plant, which has a production capacity of 818,000 metric tons per annum of Paraxylene and 198,000 metric tons of Benzene. These chemicals are important raw materials for a wide range of petrochemical intermediaries, and are used to produce a variety of consumer goods.

Paraxylene is primarily used as a basic raw material in the manufacture of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and di-methyl-terephthalate (DMT). PTA and DMT are used to manufacture poly-ethylene terephthalate (PET) and a variety of polyesters and polymers. Polyesters are used to produce yarn, fibres and films. PET bottles are widely used for carbonated beverages because of good carbon dioxide barrier properties. In addition, they are light-weight, shatter-resistant and possess high tensile strength. Benzene is a key basic chemical for the manufacture of a wide range of intermediate products, including cyclo-hexane, used to make nylon. Benzene is also used to make ethyl benzene styrene monomer which is used to manufacture polystyrene and rubber products. Benzene can also be used to make cumene and phenol which are used in health care products and is a basic raw material for linear alkyl benzene, used to manufacture soaps and detergents. Other by-products from the Aromatics Plant include Light Straight Run Naphtha, liquid petroleum gas, raffinate and heavy aromatic. These by-products are widely used either as finished products or as intermediates for further downstream processing or blending purposes.

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On the other hand, propylene from the refinery is supplied by pipeline to the Polypropylene Plant, which is designed to produce up to 340,000 metric tons of polypropylene – a widely-used thermoplastic polymer that forms the intermediate base in the production of numerous types of products. Launched in October 2006, the polypropylene plant is the only facility of its kind in the Sultanate and is a key part of the country›s vision to develop downstream petrochemical products. Orpic sells polypropylene under the brand name ‘Luban’ which is marketed in 14 different grades, from fine powder to pellets. These grades cover all the broad spectrum applications of polypropylene homopolymer. Polypropylene has a wealth of applications and is currently one of the fastest growing polymers among all other standard plastics. Thanks to its low costs, versatility and manufacturability, polypropylene is used across industries including agriculture and fishing, appliances and home-wares, automotive, electronics, packing and distribution, and textiles. Orpic’s polypropylene production is exported to markets in the UAE, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other countries in the Middle East. Part of the production is also marketed locally. A major milestone was reached in August 2012 when polypropylene homopolymer production crossed the one million tonne mark for the first time since the plant went into operation in October 2006.

Watershed year In fact, 2011-2012 has been a watershed for Orpic, as attested by the number of awards, accolades and achievements it garnered during this period. These accomplishments have characterised the emergence of a resurgent, efficiency-driven company with aspirations to become a global leader in the refining and petrochemicals business. In July 2012, Orpic announced a major milestone in its business performance – the achievement of 12 full consecutive months of providing 100 per cent of the country’s fuel needs. Since its creation nearly three years ago, an important goal for Orpic has been to eliminate the need for expensive gasoline and diesel imports. June 2011 marked the first full month of zero per cent fuel imports as a result of the company’s performance and, thanks to the successful utilisation of its refineries at Sohar and Mina Al Fahal, Orpic passed the 12-month milestone in July 2012. Hailing the achievement, His Excellency Dr Mohammed bin Hamed Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas and Chairman of Orpic, declared: “This is an important achievement for Orpic

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and the country. As a major oil producer, Oman should be able to meet its own growing fuel needs. Over the past two years, there has been a significant improvement in Orpic’s operational and financial performance. Today, we are proud of the contribution we have made to our economy and that we continue to be independent of fuel imports, thanks to the record performance of our plants.” Against an import volume of more than five million barrels of fuels in 2010, fuel inflows fell to one million barrels in 2011 as Orpic achieved record production levels at its refineries. The company has since set its sights on zero imports despite a double digit year-on-year growth in the rate of fuel consumption in the Sultanate. Equally commendable has been Orpic’s financial and operational performance as well, fuelled by record production levels achieved by all four constituent units. Orpic achieved operating profits of $400 million in 2011, a record performance which represented an increase of $450 million when compared to the results of 2010. One of the biggest positive impacts on operational achievements was felt through the innovative cross-company “Program APPLE”, an initiative that sought to improve performance against key indicators. Through this program, Orpic staff provided more than 61 ideas and initiatives to improve performance and increase profits, equalling up to $232 million of savings during 2011. “These results are a result of the high actual utilisation rate of Sohar Refinery as well as the Aromatics and Polypropylene plants,” said His Excellency Dr Al Rumhy. “The company was able to overcome the technical difficulties of Sohar Refinery and the refinery utilisation rate reached 93 per cent, compared to a historical annual rate not exceeding 75 per cent. The utilisation rate of the aromatics plant in 2011 reached 93 per cent of its capacity, compared to 65 per cent in 2010.”

Outstanding business Not surprisingly, Orpic was named as the ‘Middle East Refinery of the Year’ at the 2012 Middle East Downstream Week (MEDW) held in Abu Dhabi in April 2012. Organised by the World Refining Association (WRA), MEDW is the annual conference for the oil downstream industry. The MEDW Awards, conferred at the close of the conference, celebrate the outstanding work of oil downstream businesses in the region over the past year. This year, against competition from the region’s refining businesses Orpic was honoured with the Middle East Refinery of the Year Award.


As the nation’s refining and petrochemicals flagship, Orpic has also made a strong commitment to Health, Security, Safety and Environment (HSSE) goals. It has embraced a policy that aims to meet or exceed all national environmental regulations covering the operation of its plants.

This award recognises a Middle East refinery which has achieved operational excellence over the past twelve months. This operational excellence is measured across fields including reduction of gas emissions resulting from refining process, improving energy efficiency and implementation of a remarkable maintenance initiative. Of late, Orpic has been focused on an ambitious plan to expand and modernise its refinery at Sohar, aimed primarily at securing the country’s burgeoning fuel needs. The expansion, due to be completed in 2016, is also expected to improve the refinery›s product quality and increase output by more than 70 per cent. It will also provide the latest technological advances to improve emission control and will create employment opportunities for the local community. The major objective of the expansion project is to increase the production of petroleum products such as LPG, naphtha, Jet A-1 fuel, gasoline, diesel and propylene. These additional petroleum products will meet the growth of local demand in addition to enhancing Oman›s exports of petroleum and petrochemical products. Additionally, this project will produce bitumen to meet the demand of the local market and eliminate the need for bitumen imports. The expansion will add around 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) of new capacity to Sohar Refinery’s present processing capacity of around 116,000 bpd of crude and long residue. This represents a significant 70 per cent jump in the plant’s existing processing capacity, according to Mr. Musab Al Mahruqi, CEO of ORPIC. “We have been witnessing rapid growth in local demand, particularly for gasoline, motor gasoline, diesel, LPG for cooking gas, and also jet fuel. The country is growing and with it, there is growth in demand as well,” the CEO said. The expansion project will be implemented at Sohar Industrial Port to complement the existing Sohar Refinery, which was commissioned in 2006. Leading global engineering consultant CB&I Lummus B.V. has been appointed to provide front end engineering design (FEED) for the expansion project. CB&I Lummus B.V. is working with selected licensors, along with the Sohar Refinery Expansion Team, to provide the basic design and engineering package in order to finalize the FEED package. Several specialist contracts have also been awarded to internationally-renowned process licensors, such as Chevron Lummus Global for the Hydrocracking unit, UOP/Foster Wheeler for the Solvent De-Asphalting unit and Black & Veatch for the Sulfur Recovery unit. It is expected that construction work on the expansion project will commence later in 2013. The project is slated for

completion in the first half of 2016. While part of the refined products is earmarked for export, a significant proportion of the output will be consumed locally.

Commitment to HSSE As the nation’s refining and petrochemicals flagship, Orpic has also made a strong commitment to Health, Security, Safety and Environment (HSSE) goals. It has embraced a policy that aims to meet or exceed all national environmental regulations covering the operation of its plants. Towards this goal, it has laid down clear-cut guidelines for measuring, managing and minimizing the environmental impact of its operations. Recently, in September 2012, Orpic’s CEO announced the award of a contract to Norway-based Alstom for the implementation of a groundbreaking emissions reduction plan. The project, which falls within the company’s environmental plan approved by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, aims to improve gaseous emissions from the cracker unit in Sohar Refinery. In fact, Orpic has earmarked a total of RO 23 million towards more than 19 projects linked to the implementation of the company’s ambitious Environmental Improvement Plan. This investment is in line with its commitment to protecting the peripheral environment encompassing its projects, through diligent endeavours and by adopting the best international measures to conserve and protect the environment. Orpic has also executed a number of vital projects such as recycling of fuel oil waste and catalysts. In addition, a number of measures have been taken to reduce odours from the refinery. It has contracted the specialist firm Chemic to spray a chemical that neutralizes foul odours emanating from wastewater at its treatment plant. Furthermore, as a permanent solution for odour reduction, in July 2012, Orpic entered into a contract with Al Saqr (Falcon) for designing, fabrication and installation of covers for the waste water treatment plant tanks. Besides, odour detecting devices (e-noses) have been installed all around the wastewater treatment facility. In conjunction with these efforts to ensure its plants do not impact the environment in which it operates, Orpic has also embraced an active CSR programme that commits itself to stay engaged with communities particularly around its Sohar complex. The company has worked alongside fellow industries of Sohar, notably Vale and Sohar Aluminium, to jointly launch and implement a number of social, youth and environmental projects.

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High quality urea from a world-class project Sohar International Urea & Chemical Industries SAOC

SIUCI’s Fertiliser Project is world class in terms of scale of production, technology, energy consumption, environmental protection and safe practices.

S

ohar International Urea and Chemical Industries SAOC (SIUCI) continued its excellent previous performance and strengthened its position in the global fertiliser market as a reliable high quality granular urea supplier.

Promoted by Sheikh Suhail Salim Bahwan, the founder Chairman of the Suhail Bahwan Group, one of the largest diversified business groups in Oman (www.suhailbahwangroup. com), SIUCI is one of the largest private sector green-field fertiliser projects in the world and represents the largest industrial investment by any individual within the GCC. It was the first time that Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), one of the leading financial institutions of its kind in the world, had given a loan on a Project Finance basis for a Fertiliser Project. SIUCI’s state-of-the-art Sohar Fertiliser Project, situated in the Sohar Industrial Port Area, about 250 km north-west of

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Muscat, comprises a 2000 MTPD Ammonia Plant, 3500 (2x1750) MTPD Granular Urea Plant and related Utilities & Offsite Facilities. The Project commenced urea production in May 2009 and has been annually producing over 1.3 million tonnes of granular urea. SIUCI’s Fertiliser Project is world class in terms of scale of production, technology, energy consumption, environmental protection and safe practices. The Project uses proven technologies from reputed process licensors, which include Haldor Topsoe from Denmark; UOP from USA; Snamprogetti of Italy and Uhde Fertiliser Technology from the Netherlands (the erstwhile Hydro Fertiliser Technology). The Project uses Natural Gas supplied by Oman Gas Company as feedstock. Ammonia and carbon-dioxide are produced from the natural gas in the ammonia plant. The ammonia produced is reacted with carbon dioxide in the urea plant to produce high quality granular urea. Urea is the most widely used nitrogenous fertiliser as it contains about 46% nitrogen by weight, which is the highest proportion among solid nitrogenous fertilisers. Urea is the main fertiliser input for various crops including wheat, rice, corn, pulses and vegetables. Urea is also used in the manufacturing of chemicals such as melamine, urea-formaldehyde chemicals, adhesives and resins. The urea produced at SIUCI is exported globally from a dedicated berth allocated to SIUCI at the Sohar Industrial Port. The main markets for SIUCI Urea are USA, India, Australia, New


currently carrying out the operation and maintenance of the plant. SIUCI has inducted qualified O&M personnel from the global fertiliser industry with average 15 to 20 years of experience in various fertiliser companies. At SIUCI, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) are accorded highest priority right from the inception through tendering, design, engineering, construction, commissioning and operation & maintenance of the Project. SIUCI has set zero accident as its target and has cultivated excellent HSE culture within the organization. Compliance with regulations, state-of-the-art environmental monitoring, safe work practices, good housekeeping are some of the hallmarks of SIUCI’s HSE culture. SIUCI is an ISO-9001, ISO-14001 and OHSAS-18001 certified company. SIUCI’s Sohar Fertiliser Project has brought with it a number of socio-economic benefits to the Sultanate of Oman, the foremost being SIUCI’s contribution to the strategic national objective of industrial diversification for reducing the nation’s dependence on oil revenues. Zealand, Thailand, Latin America, South Africa and Pakistan. To preserve its high quality, urea is transported to the berth through enclosed conveyors and loaded directly into the ship’s holds by a remote controlled mechanized ship loader. During the product urea storage, handling and ship loading operations, utmost care is taken and hygiene practices are adopted to ensure the quality of the urea loaded into the ship. Within a few months of operation, SIUCI has established an excellent reputation as a supplier of high quality Urea. SIUCI’s Urea is recognized by discerning buyers all over the world, thereby creating a strong demand for SIUCI’s product. SIUCI’s Sohar Fertiliser Project was executed on a lump-sum turnkey basis by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan as EPC contractor. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is one of the largest engineering companies in the world, a leading EPC contractor for fertiliser projects, who have successfully implemented several large fertiliser projects worldwide. SIUCI’s own personnel carried out the entire project management from inception to commissioning and are

Employment generation for nationals is another significant outcome of this project. Right from the beginning SIUCI has been committed to the development of technical skills of young Omanis. About 100 young technically qualified nationals have been inducted since 2006 as technical trainees and after extensive class room and on-the-job training and mentoring, they are contributing significantly in various functions such as, plant operation & maintenance, quality control laboratory, technical services and materials management departments. In addition to these technically qualified nationals, over 150 nationals have been recruited in various other functions. Right from inception SIUCI had considered in its planning the requirements for future expansion. In this regard SIUCI has already acquired additional land, reserved additional seawater extraction capacity and provided cushions in capacity of critical equipments. Upon allocation of natural gas for the expansion, SIUCI is committed to repeat its performance, which will further enhance Oman’s position as a leading supplier of quality urea to the world.

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SOHAR FERTILISER PROJECT A TRIBUTE TO HIS MAJESTY’S VISION AND FORESIGHT

COMMITTED TO QUALITY AND WORLD-CLASS PERFORMANCE SIUCI, with production capacity of over 1.3 million tonnes per annum, is a leading supplier of high quality Granular Urea serving the Global Fertiliser Market. The Sohar Fertiliser Project of SIUCI is one of the largest private sector greenfield fertiliser projects in the world and represents one of the largest industrial investments by an individual in the GCC.

Deep Rooted Commitment to the Industrial Growth of the Nation Sohar International Urea & Chemical Industries SAOC P.O. Box 3352, PC 112 Ruwi, Sultanate of Oman Tel : (968) 24562631, Fax : (968) 24562731 E-mail: intlurea@omantel.net.om

SIUCI


Metals Cluster > Vale Oman Pelletising Company > Sohar Aluminium > Jindal Shadeed Iron & Steel Co LLC > Sohar Steel LLC > L&T Modular Fabrication Yard LLC > L&T Heavy Engineering LLC


Forging a future in steel Vale Oman Pelletising Company

W

hen the global diversified mining company, Vale launched the initial stages of its industrial complex at the Port of Sohar in April 2011, it marked a highpoint in an era of big-ticket industrial investments in the Sultanate. The massive venture not only laid the foundations of what promises to be a thriving steel industry in Oman, but also reinforces the nation’s credentials as an emerging industrial power in the region. Vale’s industrial complex has been no ordinary investment. At the time, it was the mining conglomerate’s largest industrial investment outside of Brazil – a move that underscored Oman’s appeal as an investment destination. Equally, the project highlighted the Sultanate’s strategic geopolitical location in the Middle East, as well as Sohar’s distinctive advantages as a logistics hub and maritime gateway. To date, Vale has invested approximately US$2 billion in the Sultanate, according to Mr. Marcos Beluco, Vale Country Manager. This includes US$1.25 billion to build the Pelletizing Plant and Distribution Center, US$250 million to build the deep-water terminal with Sohar Industrial Company (SIPC) and US$500 million for the provision of four very large ore carriers (VLOCs) with Oman Shipping Company.

In addition to making a sizable contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the venture has also delivered significant benefits in the form of jobs, value addition opportunities, in-country value initiatives, and community development projects. “Our investments have led to the creation of over 4,000 jobs (1,200 direct and 3,120 indirect). Vale also injected US$420 million into the economy in the form of contracts awarded to local suppliers during the construction phase alone. In addition, two 20-year contracts were signed with the Ministry of Oil &

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Gas for gas provisions and with Majan Electricity Company to supply 93MW of power,” Mr. Beluco said. Oman, says the Country Manager, eminently fitted the bill as a hub for Vale’s distribution network in the Middle East. The region’s strong appetite for iron ore, a key component in steel production, made a distribution center imperative. “As a result of our in-depth market research of the region, Oman was clearly identified as the best location for our investment in the region. Under Oman’s forward thinking Vision 2020, we saw an opportunity to partner with the government and partake in the current industry-intensive transformation the country is undergoing. Our project will help solidify the country’s frontier market status and strategic advantage in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia including India,” he said.

Just-in-time framework Vale’s Industrial Complex comprises of two pelletizing units, each with a nominal production capacity of 4.5 million metric tons of direct-reduction pellets per year, and a Distribution Center with a throughput capacity of 40 million metric tons per year. Operations at Vale’s site began in stages, starting with Line 1 of the Pelletizing Plant which commenced production in


April 2011 with an annual capacity of 4.5 million metric tons. Following the commencement of the first line, Vale’s Pelletizing Plant and Distribution Center released its first shipment of iron ore pellets to Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) in July. Production was doubled seven months later with the startup of Line 2 in November 2011. The company has since established a just-in-time operations framework designed to better serve customers in the region while providing the highest quality, clean iron ore pellets. To date, Vale has signed regional contracts with leading steel companies including Saudi Basic Industries Company (SABIC) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Emirates Steel in the UAE and Jindal Shadeed in Oman to name a few. To maximize the Distribution Center’s capabilities, Vale partnered with SIPC for the construction of a 1.4 kilometerlong deepwater terminal. This terminal was one of the first ports in the world to receive Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOCs) that boast a capacity of 400,000 tons and are responsible for transporting the world’s purest iron ore from Brazil to the shores of the Sultanate. The Pelletizing Plant and Distribution Center in Oman, together with a floating transfer station in Subic Bay in the Philippines, a Distribution Center and Port under construction in Malaysia and the VLOCs, are part of Vale’s strategy to increase its flexibility and competitiveness in serving the world’s fastest growing markets, on an equal footing with its closest competitors. The first VLOC to dock at the deepwater terminal in Liwa was ‘Vale Brasil’, the world’s largest iron ore bulk carrier, which delivered 400,000 tons of iron ore in September 2011. ‘Vale Liwa’, the first VLOC built by Oman Shipping Company, also docked in Liwa with its 400,000 ton shipment of iron ore in

November 2012. ‘Vale Sohar’, the second of four VLOCs earmarked by Oman Shipping for Vale’s exclusive use, arrived at Liwa recently. Two remaining VLOCs, ‘Vale Shinas’ and ‘Vale Saham’ are due to enter service in the first quarter of 2013. A major milestone was marked in March 2012 when Vale’s Industrial Complex was formally inaugurated in Liwa. His Excellency Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, led a distinguished gathering at the celebrations. Also in attendance were His Excellency Nasser bin Khamis al Jashmi, UnderSecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas and Chairman of Oman Oil Company; Mr. Murilo Ferreira, Vale President and CEO; and Mr. Ahmed Al Wahaibi, CEO of Oman Oil Company. The event celebrated the creation of a ‘virtual iron ore mine’ that will contribute to solidifying Oman’s frontier market status and competitiveness in the global economy as a base for integrated steel production in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, including India.

In-country value Importantly, employment generation has been one of the key spinoffs of the Vale project. The company is fully committed to fostering national talent and providing meaningful job

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opportunities. It has also been maintaining a high Omanization rate which, at over 60 percent, is well above the industry norm, said Mr. Beluco.

reuse 100% of the water, as well as Electrostatic Precipitators which filter 99% of particulate emissions that come from the Pelletizing Furnaces.

“We do not view Omanization as merely a quota that needs to be fulfilled but rather as a platform to build for the future by transferring the necessary skill-sets and knowledge for Oman to cement its position as a world-class integrated steel production base,” he stressed. “We prioritize recruitment and hiring from the local community more specifically the Al Batinah region. We have invested over US$12 million in world-class training programs that aim to equip the Company’s employees with the tools and knowledge for rewarding futures in the mining industry.”

Other control measures also incorporated in Vale’s operational technologies include a low Nox burner, and the use of low Sulphur fuels. The company has also installed fixed air quality monitoring stations and a natural greenbelt around its operations. To further control dust emissions, iron ore pellets are coated with a Gelatin-like substance which locks the dust to the pellets.

Vale’s recruitment and training programs included enrolling college and university graduates in administrative, operational and technical positions within the project, in addition to generating 80 job opportunities for low income families from Sohar, Liwa and Shinas. “Today we have more than 450 employees which include 288 Omanis a majority of which are from Al Batinah. The company in coordination with Jusoor is also currently planning to train 90 members from the local community who will then join the ranks of Omani men and women working at Vale’s Pelletizing Plant and Distribution Center in Liwa,” the Country Manager said. Another priority objective for the company is to safeguard environmental and human health at the plant. Towards this end, Vale has invested more than US$40 million for the installation of advanced environmental protection technologies to minimize the effects of emissions. This includes a 24-meter high and 3,150-metre in length Wind Fence surrounding the stockyard, a state-of-the-art water recycling system to

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“At Vale, our employees and contractors are our number one priority. We have therefore adopted an occupational noise monitoring system and institutionalized rigorous HSE induction programs for our team throughout our operations to ensure their constant wellbeing. Our international and internal campaigns at Vale ingrain a culture of safety through educational training,” the Country Manager stated. Another distinguishing feature is its commitment to working with partners, local suppliers and the Omani government to create sustainable value for the country as a whole, says Mr. Beluco. To date, $420 million worth of contracts were awarded to local companies during the construction phase as part of the company’s promise to invest in the development of its local supply chain. The Country Manager describes Vale’s investment in Oman as a paradigm of the successful convergence of the strategic goals of Vale, the Omani government (represented by Oman Oil Company), and SIPC. “Our operations in Oman are a result of a dynamic partnership with SIPC and Oman Oil Company. Thanks to these key partners, Vale is meeting and surpassing its operations and business


A priority objective for the company is to safeguard environmental and human health at the plant. Towards this end, Vale has invested US$40 million for the installation of advance environment protection technologies to minimize the effects of emissions

targets. The Omani government is a strategic partner that has contributed to the company’s success by facilitating a smooth transition into the country and allowing Vale to seamlessly develop its business operations. In addition, SIPC has acted as an efficient and logistical partner helping to connect our maritime terminals in Brazil to customers in the region,” he stated. Under a strategic partnership announced by Vale in May 2010, state-owned Oman Oil Company acquired 30 per cent of the registered share capital in the pelletizing plant. By leveraging business partnerships and Sohar’s premier location, Vale’s vision is to help create a competitive steel cluster that will be second-to-none in the region. “This cluster would be achieved due to the Sultanate’s world-class industrial infrastructure and the availability of high quality, affordable fuels,” Mr. Beluco added.

Vale – a sustainable operator Sustainability is the bedrock of Vale’s operations around the world. We are a global company that understands the importance of balancing the social, environmental and economic aspects of our business to leave a lasting legacy for future generations. Our strategy is to work in an integrated manner with the government and society, to identify opportunities, utilize resources and adopt innovative solutions to enhance the quality of life where we operate, through open dialogue and constant engagement. Vale’s CSR policy is based on three pillars: being a sustainable operator, a catalyst for local development and an agent of change in our very own community. We dedicated ourselves to understanding the dynamics of Al Batinah Governorate in order to positively contribute to its growth. Combining the expertise and knowledge base from Vale Foundation, the entity

responsible for outlining the Company’s social investment policy and guidelines, and an independent consultancy firm in the field of CSR, the company developed an in-depth socio-economic study of the Wilayats Sohar, Liwa and Shinas. Based on our findings, we designed our Social Responsibility Agenda in Oman to go beyond the impact management of our operations, focusing on education for employment, entrepreneurship, health and environment as well as sports and culture. Today, the company’s community programs include: • Identifying means to diversify the marine environment in Al Batinah by working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to provide artificial reefs and demarcation buoys in the Wilayat of Liwa. The project aims to enhance biodiversity in non-restricted fishing areas for commercial use through increasing the catch of healthy stock for local fishermen. • Empowering the nation’s youth by joining forces with Outward Bound Oman, a not for profit organization that aims to unlock human potential through challenging outdoor activities, to develop a dedicated program of self-discovery and identity building for students from Liwa and Sohar, called “Discover Yourself”. The initiative aims to build their leadership skills and prepare them to embark on a successful professional career. • Believing in the strength of collaboration and forming a corporate social responsibility cooperation with Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC) and Sohar Aluminium called ‘Jusoor’. The aim of this partnership is to implement a number of social projects that will positively impact and develop our surrounding communities.

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Smelting Success Sohar Aluminium

O

man’s largest non-hydrocarbon industrial investment continues to do the country proud in more ways than creating economic wealth through aluminium smelting.

Sohar Aluminium remains a formidable symbol of the country’s successful foray into heavy industry – a key goal of the government’s economic diversification strategy. Equally, it also serves as a role model for sustainable development, as reflected in its commitment to maximise the health and safety of its people, reduce the impact of its operations on the environment, and invest in the social and economic development of the community. Its role is best summed up by the CEO of one of the world’s biggest aluminium companies, Jacynthe Côté of Rio Tinto Alcan, which is a shareholder in the Oman smelter: “Sohar Aluminium is an excellent example of an Omani-controlled enterprise harnessing Omani resources to power the establishment of a more diversified, value-added industrial base and create quality jobs for Omani citizens.” Indeed, the $2.4 billion project is acclaimed not only for its superior, environmentally friendly and energy efficient technology, but also for the strength and depth of its commitment to its corporate social responsibilities. And through a proactive policy of engagement with all stakeholders, the company continues to break new ground in its strategy to operate a world-class smelter safely and sustainably.

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Sohar Aluminium is a joint venture of Oman Oil Company (40 per cent), a wholly Omani government owned investment vehicle; Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC – TAQA (40 per cent), a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA); and Rio Tinto Alcan (20 per cent), a global leader in aluminium smelting. Commencing production in June 2008, it was the first greenfield aluminium smelter to be launched in the Gulf region for 25 years. The project, comprising a 375,000-tonne-capacity smelter was also the first globally to be based on advanced AP36 smelting technology “Sohar Aluminium is the most modern smelter in the world with a state-of-the art 1,000 MW power plant. It is one of the most efficient and cost effective aluminium plants in the world. The company is an important driver for a long term and sustainable value contribution to Oman’s economy. We are an employer of choice, providing quality and long term career development opportunities for Omani citizens,” Sohar Aluminium’s CEO, Mr. Henk Pauw, commented.

Production milestone Sohar Aluminium reached full capacity on 19th February 2009 and a mere 30 months later celebrated the production of its 1 millionth tonne on 20th August 2011. In that time, capacity was quickly upgraded from 360,000 tonnes per year to 375,000 tonnes per year. The company attributes this milestone to


its strategic focus on maximising operating efficiencies, continuous improvement and the dedication of its employees. Sohar Aluminium has had a positive impact on economic diversification and job creation after only a few years of operation. It makes a significant contribution to Oman’s overall GDP of 0.7 per cent. The company also employs over 1,000 people and is credited with creating an additional 3,500 indirect jobs here in the Sultanate. Omanisation, which currently stands at 70 per cent of its workforce, is a driving factor within the organisation. The company’s target for the near future is to be 85 per cent Omanised. The development of its young employees is paramount and with that in mind, Sohar Aluminium has launched a training academy which will give each and every employee the opportunity for further learning. At the heart of Sohar Aluminium’s training and development strategy is a desire to ensure that its staff have the correct skills, knowledge, motivation and alignment to perform optimally in support of the company’s vision and objectives. A clearly defined career path for each position guides the training and development plans for all employees. Career development strategies are aimed at Performance Management, Supervisory and Leadership Development, Individual Development Plans, operator training, and the technical and general skills development of shop floor employees. Coaching and mentoring are on-going objectives. A series of initiatives have been underway to help enhance competence and performance levels within the workforce. Notable is the multi-functional technical development programme aimed at optimizing competence levels by developing a technical Omani workforce that will eventually replace expatriates. The range of training initiatives targeted at young Omanis includes the Multi-functional Technical Development Programme, Supervisory Development Programme, Najaah Programme, Industrial Excellence Training, and Accredited Apprenticeship Programme. Furthermore, Sohar Aluminium has forged a partnership with Sohar University to assist with the sourcing and development of bright young talent in anticipation of meeting the company’s future skills requirements. In addition, the company is working with Sultan Qaboos University to support research-based initiatives.

Downstream opportunities Part of Sohar Aluminium’s overall strategy is to promote and

support the establishment of a robust downstream aluminium industry in Oman to increase the value of producing aluminium to Oman’s economy as well as to create further employment and business opportunities. Two hundred hectares of land adjacent to the smelter site at the Sohar Industrial Estate are set aside for downstream industry development and up to 60 per cent of the annual production capacity will be sold on to the local downstream industry. Local companies can take advantage of liquid metal sales to manufacture all manner of aluminium products. The most recent of these downstream ventures, Oman Aluminium Processing Industries (OAPIL), commenced operations in 2010 and produces cables and wires. Construction is also underway on a giant aluminium rolling mill of a capacity of 160,000 tonnes per annum. Oman Aluminium Rolling Company (OARC), a 100 per cent subsidiary of majority government-owned Takamul Investment Company, is building the plant with an investment of around $380 million. Its location adjacent to Sohar Aluminium’s smelter will allow for molten metal to be cast into aluminium foil for the packaging and food preservation foil markets, while finstock will be produced for the automotive heat exchanger and air conditioning sectors. OARC’s products are primarily destined for the Middle East and European markets. Sohar Aluminium’s commitment to supplying 60 per cent of its hot metal output to downstream units will be achieved when OARC comes on stream in the third quarter of 2013. The remainder 40 per cent of the output is cast into ingots and sows and sold on the international market.

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Sohar based industrial heavyweights Orpic and Vale in the institution of a foundation dedicated to social and community development initiatives. A cooperation agreement inked by the three companies on 31st December 2011 formally created ‘Jusoor’ to serve as a joint platform for the implementation of community initiatives in the Sohar area. “It is anticipated that over the next five years Sohar Aluminium will combine its CSR funding which will be invested in projects ranging from education, medical, health, environment and infrastructure development for the local community,” commented Mr. Henk Pauw.

Community engagement

Social investment Importantly, Sohar Aluminium’s investment is not limited to its smelting and power generation operations alone, but extends to include the social investment it makes towards the people of Oman in general and the North Al Batinah community in particular. Through dedicated Community Relations initiatives, Sohar Aluminium has been actively working to establish partnerships with the community and plan and execute programmes that address some of the key challenges in the area. Sohar Aluminium’s shareholders have committed 1.5 per cent of their profits to CSR - $1 million in 2010 and $1.725 million for 2011. The company has also spent more than 50 per cent ($47 million in 2010 and $51 million in 2011) of its spend in the local community. Respect for the environment is a core value of Sohar Aluminium. Its track record of adhering rigorously to stringent Environment, Health and Safety standards (EHS) means that it falls firmly within the guidelines outlined by Oman’s environment agency (MECA). In 2009, Sohar Aluminium received its ISO 9001 certification for its Casthouse and related services operations. In 2010, the company retained its certification for the second consecutive time. Affirming its commitment to sustainability as the cornerstone of its operations, Sohar Aluminium joined hands with

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As a keen patron of community welfare initiatives, Sohar Aluminium, in association with the Ministry of Social Development, organised a Ramadhan donation campaign among its employees from 14 July to 1 August 2012. To promote charity and social work, the company employees donated funds for needy families with the view to involving these families in charity works. In addition to the employee donations, Sohar Aluminium management pledged to double the amount raised by the employees. The proceeds were distributed among the low income families in the wilayats of Liwa and Sohar. In July 2012, Sohar Aluminium inked a Memorandum of Understanding with the Public Authority for Crafts Industries (PACI) for the establishment of a crafts training centre focusing on aluminium-based products. The deal commits Sohar Aluminium to providing the funding and faculties for the initiative. Sohar Aluminium is in the process of developing a training centre at its premises for aluminium craftwork, which will become the country’s first training centre for aluminium crafts. The centre will train selected women from low income families on the skills of manufacturing aluminium handicrafts. The two-year training programme will equip Omani women with the skills necessary to become entrepreneurs and thereby earn their own livelihoods. In a testament to its continuing contribution to the national economy and sustainable development, Sohar Aluminium was conferred the prestigious His Majesty’s Cup Award for the Best Five Factories in 2010 and 2011. CEO, Henk Pauw described the consecutive awards as a tribute to “each employee’s hard work and determination”. Sohar Aluminium was cited for its commitment to Omanisation, financial performance, value addition and use of local raw materials, integration with other industries, production efficiency, quality standards and environmental safety.


As the nation’s refining and petrochemicals flagship, Orpic has also made a strong commitment to Health, Security, Safety and Environment (HSSE) goals. It has embraced a policy that aims to meet or exceed all national environmental regulations covering the operation of its plants.

Proving our mettle, together. In many ways, Sohar Aluminium embodies the aspirations and foresight behind the Sultanate’s own resurgence onto the world stage. Even as it powers ahead at a formidable pace with host of industry-leading features, Sohar Aluminium remains firmly anchored to the nation’s cultural ethos, with the interest of the community at the core of its operations. • • • • • •

70% Omani personnel Generates direct and indirect jobs Fosters a network of downstream partners Contributes over $50 million to the local economy every year His Majesty’s Cup for Best 5 Factories Recognition for Omanisation Excellence at GCC level

www.sohar-aluminium.com Tel: +968 2686 3000 Email: info@sohar-aluminium.com 59 Port of Sohar 2013


Steel in the ascendancy Jindal Shadeed Iron & Steel Co LLC

coast, Jindal Shadeed is set to play a pivotal role intransforming Oman into an industrial powerhouse.

The vision of an integrated steel complex is rapidly becoming a reality at the Port of Sohar as Indian steelmaker Jindal Shadeed forges ahead with the construction of a steel melt shop while also exploring investments both upstream and downstream in this world-class project.

W

hile much of the global steelmaking industry is in tumult due to recessionary pressures, Oman’s premier steelmaker, Jindal Shadeed Iron and Steel Co LLC (JSIS), can look back on a year of remarkable achievements.

Production of direct reduction iron (DRI) has been ramped up, while a modern steel melt shop (SMS) is taking shape at the company’s waterfront site within the industrial port. Also on the anvil is a major pelletising plant that will churn out feed for the steel plant, while on the downstream side, a large-scale rolling mill is envisaged with a view to attracting investments in ancillary projects. For Jindal Shadeed, a wholly owned subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Jindal Steel, these ventures are integral elements of an iron and steel hub taking shape at the entrance to the Arabian Gulf. Along with the pelletizing plant of Brazilian mining giant Vale, the aluminium smelter of Sohar Aluminium and an array of other steel and metals plants on the Batinah

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“We are proud to be part of the growing economy of the Sultanate of Oman,” said Mr. Naushad A Ansari, Director and Head of Jindal Shadeed. “Our vision is not only to support the industrialization and diversification of the Omani economy, but also to generate employment opportunities for Omanis, create avenues for downstream investment, and be a good corporate citizen in our community in Sohar. We pray to the Almighty to shower his blessings on His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. Under his able leadership, Oman’s comprehensive development remains on track on all fronts. We are grateful to His Majesty the Sultan, his government and people of Oman, for graciously hosting the Jindal Shadeed community in Sohar.” Set on a 1.2 million sq meter plot within the industrial port, the Jindal-Shadeed project is billed as among the most modern steels mills of its kind in the Middle East. The plant was engineered by Kobe Steel of Japan, based on cutting edge Hotlink technology developed by renowned US steelmaker Midrex Technologies.

World-class venture Acquired by Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL) in July 2010, the project has since served to showcase India’s growing mettle as a global steel producing heavyweight. The project’s centerpiece DRI plant, with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) and Hot DRI (HDRI), was commissioned in December 2010 – a remarkable four months ahead of schedule.


Commercial production began the following January, effectively elevating Oman into the ranks of the world’s steelmakers – an accomplishment that was celebrated in May that year with a lavish ceremony during which Jindal Shadeed dedicated its world-class venture to the Omani nation. Now, into the third year of successful operations, Jindal Shadeed is poised for stronger growth. Gas supply restrictions that had constrained output to less than 1.2 MTPA during the first 18 months of operations, have since been smoothed over. Under a landmark gas price revision pact concluded with the Ministry of Oil and Gas in September, Jindal Shadeed now receives gas supplies at contracted levels, paving the way for a ramp up of output. The company is now working on augmenting production to 1.6 MTPA, well above nominal capacity. “We are going ahead with discussions on the modification of critical equipment that should aid the ramp-up of DRI production. These changes would be completed during the Capital Repair phase, planned in the last quarter of the 2012-13 financial year. With these changes and with additional natural gas, we can now increase the production to the 1.6 MTPA level,” Mr. Ansari said. The Director, who took over the reins of the company in May 2012, now has his sights on the project’s next milestone – the commissioning of a new Steel Melt Shop (SMS). Construction work on the 2 MTPA capacity plant is making rapid headway. When operational towards the end of 2013, it will transform Jindal Shadeed from a HBI Producer into an integrated steel complex, according to the executive.

Integrated hub The Steel Melt Shop is an important component in a wider strategy by the company to develop a fully integrated steel hub at Sohar, encompassing all aspects of the production chain, from the pelletisation of iron ore through to the manufacture of intermediate steel and even rolled products in the future. The Melt Shop will convert DRI into an array of semi-finished long products, such as square billets, blooms and round sections. These intermediate products will initially be targeted at the scores of steel mills in operation around the Gulf region. But longer term, Jindal Shadeed has plans to invest in a rolling mill that will utilize this intermediate feedstock to manufacture a wide variety of iron and steel products, including rebars for the construction industry, wire rods, different types of light and medium sections, seamless pipes and tubes. On the upstream side, steelmaker is studying the feasibility of setting up a pelletising plant that will provide concentrated iron ore as feedstock for the DRI plant. Tentative plans drawn up by the company envisage a pelletising plant initially of around 7 MTPA capacity, which will be large enough to meet any capacity expansion of the DRI facility. “Both initiatives are on the drawing board at present and are expected to be finalised soon. A demand survey is ongoing, while documentation for environmental clearances is being prepared,” Mr. Ansari said.

“The SMS project is well on track. Civil works are progressing smoothly, with structural erection already underway. The technical equipment, such as the electric arc furnace, ladle furnace, and continuous casting machine, is already on order. Commissioning is slated for later in 2013.”

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Indeed, with commitments of around $1 billion in capacity expansions and upgrades, Jindal Shadeed is set to make a major contribution to the Sultanate’s economy, notably through the development of a robust steel industry. In fact, by expanding and diversifying its steel making facilities, Jindal Shadeed hopes to meet Oman’s steel requirements, with surplus volumes targeted for export to the GCC region. The Director also envisions strong potential for the growth of a thriving downstream industry created by the Jindal Shadeed complex. “Our main products would be square and round billets, rebars (8mm to 40mm), wire rods, and light sections (angles, beams, channels, and so on). The supply of billets to downstream rebar mills can help spur the growth of the metals sector in Oman, while the supply of rebars has the potential to boost the construction sector. We also see opportunities for investment in downstream industries, such as rolling mills, forging units, pipe manufacturing plants, cutting and bending, and so on. Prospects for maintenance, repair, and other ancillary and support workshops are also plentiful.”

Community engagement Driving the growth of the Jindal Steel Group is Mr. Naveen Jindal, Chairman of JSPL Group. A young and dynamic leader, Mr. Jindal is also a Member of the Indian Parliament and a renowned sportsman – qualities that are rarely seen in business and political leaders. Under his dynamic leadership, the Group is expanding its business worldwide. In addition to managing his multidimensional interests, he is also very passionate about just causes including all-round social development. In accordance with his vision, there is a great focus on local employment generation. These initiatives count among Jindal Shadeed’s biggest successes. Omanization stands at an impressive 44.41 per cent, given the highly technical and complex nature of plant operations. Nevertheless, the management is committed to progressively lifting Omanization levels through an aggressive, ongoing recruitment and training program that continues to deliver positive results. “We are imparting technical training to Omani employees to enable them to take up key technical positions within the plant. Training is essentially of two types: the first covers locally provided training – either on-the-job, in-house or in-classroom within the complex or elsewhere around Oman. In the second type, our Omani staff is sent to train at our group companies in India. These units are typically well-equipped with excellent

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facilities and amenities to impart high quality training. The candidates are also provided ‘on job training’ to hone their skills.” A number of employees have been trained at Jindal’s facilities in India, while other teams are being prepared for similar training as part of a phased programme. English language courses for employees and their children are being conducted regularly as well. Mr. Ansari is optimistic that the company’s training and Omanization strategy will produce the desired results. “There has been very good progress in our endeavour to train the local people. We are slowly giving them technical responsibilities. This process may take some time but we are confident this strategy will boost Omanization as well as support the professional development of our Omani employees.” He further adds: “Our Chairman believes in the philosophy that if the community around us is happy, you can bring laurels and excel on the business front too. We do follow in the footsteps of our leader. In line with his thinking, we have been taking up a number of social, cultural, educational and sports initiatives for the development of the people around us through our Corporate Social Responsibility projects. Around 70 such initiatives have been undertaken over the first 18 months of our operations.” This CSR drive is set to enter an energetic phase as the company embarks on a number of high-profile initiatives that will translate into tangible benefits for the communities of Liwa and Shinas wilayats. They include plans for the construction of a children’s park in Nabr village, a multipurpose hall at Liwa Girls High School, a new football ground with all amenities in Liwa, and service roads and pavement projects. Also on the anvil are welfare schemes targeted at civil society organizations and low income families. Jindal Steel is one of India’s biggest steel producers with a significant presence also in other sectors such as mining, power generation, oil and gas, and infrastructure. In recent years, the company has expanded its steel, power and mining businesses to key areas of the world, particularly in Asia and Southern Africa.


As the nation’s refining and petrochemicals flagship, Orpic has also made a strong commitment to Health, Security, Safety and Environment (HSSE) goals. It has embraced a policy that aims to meet or exceed all national environmental regulations covering the operation of its plants.

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Vaulting ambitions Sohar Steel LLC

Growth has been one of the defining characteristics of Sohar Steel and a hallmark of its strategy to entrench itself, along with its sister venture Sharq Sohar Steel Rolling Mills LLC (SSSRM), as the leading provider of reinforcing bars (rebars) for the Oman market.

S

ince its commenced operations as a mid-sized plant at the industrial port in 2008, Sohar Steel has embraced an aggressive growth strategy that promises to catapult the company into the ranks of world-scale steel mills in a couple of years. Plant capacity is set to more than double within a year, with plans also afoot to add a new rolling mill, as well as a steel wire rod coils facility in the future. Indeed, growth has been one of the defining characteristics of Sohar Steel and a hallmark of its strategy to entrench itself, along with its sister venture Sharq Sohar Steel Rolling Mills LLC (SSSRM), as the leading provider of reinforcing bars (rebars) for the Oman market. Used for reinforcement in concrete or asphalt pourings, rebars are an essential ingredient in any civil construction or infrastructure project and thus a commodity of major strategic and economic importance. Keeping the construction sector well-supplied with this vital commodity is a key goal of Sohar Steel and its partner firms. Set on a 25-hectare plot within the Port of Sohar, Sohar Steel’s Melt Shop is backward integrated with a rolling mill operated by sister firm Sharq Sohar at the nearby Sohar Industrial Estate. All of Sohar Steel’s present output of roughly 300,000 tons per year (tpy) of mild steel billets is consumed by Sharq Sohar’s rolling mill to produce rebars for the domestic and regional markets. With strong economic growth driving up demand for rebars in Oman and the Gulf region, Sohar Steel has embarked on a major expansion of its Melt Shop at the industrial port. Output is poised to more than double to 700,000 tons per year (tpy) when the new capacity is completed and brought into operation in the fourth quarter of 2013.

“The Melt Shop’s steel making capacity will be augmented by adding a new 80-ton-capacity Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) supplied by Danieli of Italy, along with all other supporting facilities. Further, in line with our strict environmental

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guidelines, the new capacity will be equipped with state-ofthe-art pollution control, degassing and de-dusting units. In addition, two more continuous casting lines will be added to our operations, taking the total number to six,” said Mr. G. N. Khadse, CEO, Sohar Steel group of companies.

Growth strategy But the expansion is only part of a far more ambitious strategy by Sohar Steel and its parent organization, Middle East Traders Oman (METO), to position itself as a major player in the steel and rebar industry in the region. Towards this end, the company has embarked on a plan to establish a major rolling mill adjoining the Melt Shop at Sohar Port. According to Mr. Khadse, the plan calls for the relocation of an existing


rolling mill from Ras Al Khaimah in neighbouring United Arab Emirates to Sohar. “RAK Steel, which is promoted by one of our Group Directors, is a practically brand new plant that was commissioned in 2008. Until it was shut down due to unfavourable market conditions prevailing at the time, it was successfully operating with a capacity of 450,000 tons per annum. Given the excellent condition in which it currently is, it makes it eminently feasible for us to shift the plant to Sohar and bring it on stream in the least possible time and cost, rather than go in for a new mill altogether.” Once shifted to Sohar, the capacity of the rolling mill will be augmented to 550,000 tpa through the installation of new features, such as a Walking Beam Furnace from Bendotti (Italy), improve bar handling facilities, and a new four-slit roll pass design. Civil works linked to the establishment of the rolling mill are well-underway. Plant erection is scheduled to start from the first quarter of 2013 with the commencement of trial production slated for the third quarter of the year. With a combined capacity of around 850,000 tpa, the two rolling mills of the Group will effectively elevate METO into the ranks of the leading manufacturers of rolled products in the Gulf region. The product mix at the two mills will be suitably configured to optimise the total output, Mr. Khadse notes, adding that the ultimate goal is to boost capacity to one million tpa. Further underscoring its growth ambitions, Sohar Steel also has plans to set up a Wire Rod Mill for the production of wire rod coils. The basic groundwork for this project is being pursued in conjunction with the establishment of the rolling mill, to be followed closely by the execution of the wire road venture in the next stage, says Mr. Khadse.

Market leader Significantly, the new investments – estimated to total around $92 million – promise to further entrench the Group’s dominance of the domestic rebar market. For the past several years, Sharq Sohar Steel Rolling Mill has been selling 100 per cent of its output locally, meeting roughly half of the Sultanate’s demand for steel rebars. About 20 per cent of demand is still being met through imports from the UAE and Turkey. But with steel consumption projected to soar in line with the country’s aggressive modernization and infrastructure development, the Group is eager to tap into this demand growth. Surplus output is targeted for export as well.

“Our expansion objectives sync perfectly with our vision to be the largest steel rebar producer in Oman and to cater to the Sultanate’s steadily growing construction and steel market. Our eventual goal is to raise the capacity of Sohar Steel to one million tons per annum,” the CEO commented. Indeed, METO’s growth over the years has kept pace with Oman’s aggressive economic development. Starting with a capacity of less than 80,000 tpa of rolled steel by SSSRM in 1995, the Group’s combined output is poised to grow 10-fold to 850,000 tpa by the end of 2013, while steel production is set to double to 700,000 tpa. This quantum leap exemplifies the ambitious vision of a Group that began life as a humble building materials trader four decades ago. Diversifying its manufacturing portfolio, METO established Middle East Conversion Industry in 2002. The company’s Epoxy Coating Plant, which provides fusion bonded epoxy coating services for deformed steel bars, came on stream in 2003. It is the only fusion bonded epoxy coating facility of its kind in the Sultanate. A Weld Mesh Plant was added in 2007 producing welded wire meshes of different sizes in line with international standards and customer specifications. All three units cater to the local industry’s requirements of high quality steel products.

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Sohar Steel: A vital link in the metals chain Exclusive feedstock supplier of mild steel billets for Sharq Sohar Steel Rolling Mills to produce Reinforcement bars 325,000 tonne capacity, increasing to 700,000 in 2013 ISO 9001: 2008, ISO 14001: 2004 and OHSAS 18001: 2007 compliant, billets as per BS Standards

SOHAR STEEL LLC Plot Number 11, SIPC, PO Box 452, PC 322 Port of Sohar, Sohar, Sultanate of Oman Tel: 00968 2685 0205 Fax: 00968 2685 0204 Email: info@soharsteelsms.com

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One-stop offshore fabrication solutions provider L&T Modular Fabrication Yard LLC

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flurry of successful loadouts during the course of 2012 has once again showcased the formidable offshore fabrication capabilities of L&T’s Modular Fabrication Yard at the Port of Sohar. A healthy order-book saw L&T’s Modular Fabrication Yard operating almost at the limit of its capacity during 2012, reinforcing its position as one of the region’s top providers of integrated offshore fabrication solutions. By year’s end, the yard had fabricated an impressive 42,000 metric tons (MT) of modular goods for the offshore oil and gas industry, up from the previous year’s tally of 15,000 MT. The roughly three-fold jump in the yard’s output helped draw international attention to its fabrication capabilities, as well as the strength of its engineering prowess. “It has been a momentous year for us at L&T Modular Fabrication Yard LLC,” said Mr. S. K. Malhotra, CEO. “After what was a relatively lean period in 2011, we received a flurry of major orders for execution in 2012. As a result, we have been operating at nearly full capacity – a milestone that was achieved within five years of launch, against our early projection of reaching this target only by 2016. These positive trends augur well for our continued business success at Sohar Port.” Launching operations in 2007, the L&T Modular Fabrication Yard is the only facility of its kind in the Sultanate with the capability to fabricate modular structures for the offshore hydrocarbon sector. The yard, which boasts its own dedicated quay wall, covers an area of around 400,000 sq metres, and has a capacity to produce about 50,000 MT of modular goods per year. Designed and equipped to fabricate a wide range of offshore structure, the yard’s capabilities include the fabrication of Oil & Gas Platforms, Jackets, Jack Up rigs, Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) systems, pipe racks, modular design based skid mounted equipment and waste heat recovery modules.

Unique strengths The yard’s forte lies in the fabrication of mammoth structures weighing thousands of tons apiece. A number of these modular behemoths have since been fabricated, loaded-out and put

into operation at offshore oil and gas sites in the Middle East region, and further afield in Europe and North America. The largest of these structures, a colossal 13,500-MT offshore jacket, sailed out from the Sohar yard in 2010 at the end of a challenging fabrication schedule that truly demonstrated the unmatched engineering capabilities of the facility. These capabilities were further underscored during the course of 2012 with the Modular Fabrication Yard executed multiple fabrication orders secured from a number of regional and international oil and gas heavyweights. The most prestigious was a contract from the Thai state-owned oil and gas major, PTTEP, for the fabrication of three jackets, each weighing around 8,000 MT, and three topsides of some 1,500 MT each. It was the first such order from the Fortune 500 company to have been bagged by L&T MFY. All six structures, weighing a total of around 27,000 MT, were loaded out at intervals during the fourth quarter of 2012. Equally notable was a contract from ADMA-OPCO, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and a major oil and gas producer of the United Arab Emirates. A total of five platforms were fabricated at L&T MFY’s Sohar facility under this contract. While the jackets were loaded out and shipped to offshore sites in October, the topsides are scheduled for delivery in Q3 2013. Rounding off the impressive order-book of contracts for the year was a major refurbishment job on the jack-up drill rig, Uday Sagar, for Indian major, the Oil & Natural Gas Commission (ONGC). The contract has since been completed and the overhauled drill rig now back in operation with ONGC. “So it’s not only been a busy year for us, but also a very fruitful one in terms of our expanding international footprint,”

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said Mr. Malhotra. “PTTEP and ADMA were both first-time customers whose contracts we secured in the face of intense international competition. We are in discussion with ADMA for further fabrication contracts. At the same time, our yard is ideally positioned to cater to demand in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where a lot of investment is currently being made in the offshore hydrocarbon sector,” he added.

Cutting edge State of the art facilities, backed by the unrivalled engineering expertise of its Indian shareholder, Larsen & Toubro Limited, makes L&T MFY the fabrication yard of choice for the region’s offshore industry. The facility boasts a number of covered fabrication and pipe shops that are equipped with automatic profile cutting machines, plate bending machines and other systems designed to undertake all kinds of sophisticated fabrication work. Automatic shot blasting and painting facilities, warehouses and in-house testing laboratories, along with the yard’s own heavy duty crawler cranes, tower cranes and goliath cranes and a host of other material handling systems, enable L&T MFY to deliver fast-track turnkey projects. Another key advantage is the yard’s exclusive 300-metre-long waterfront suitably designed and built to handle ultra-heavy loadouts of up to 20,000 MT. Also adding to the facility’s overall appeal is the presence next door of the Heavy Engineering Division of L&T, which is equipped to provide heavy engineering support to the yard’s operations. Multimillion dollar investments in new systems and equipment upgrades have helped ensure that the yard maintains its technological edge, says the CEO. “We spend between $7 – 10 million every year in adding new machinery and developing the overall capabilities of the yard. Recent new additions to the facility include an automatic piping spool fabrication plant, beam manufacturing machine, pipe profile cutting machine, and hydro blasting system. Also, our one-of-a-kind skidding and loadout system makes it possible for giant structures to be loaded out from the jetty on to barges for onward delivery to site.” L&T Modular Yard’s creditable performance comes in the face of considerable odds that place it at a competitive disadvantage when competing for international contracts against rival yards, particularly in the Gulf region and southeast Asia. As a 100 per cent export-oriented unit, the Sohar yard often finds itself pitted against rivals that are not bound by certain commitments that are mandatory for Omani businesses. Adding to this constraint is the problem posed by

fluctuating order-book trends. Thus, despite these drawbacks, the Sohar yard continues to admirably hold its own.

Timely delivery But it is L&T MFY’s impeccable record in on-time delivery that continues to underpin its ongoing success. “Our USP has been the timely delivery of fabricated structures to clients. From inception to date, all of our modular products were loaded out on schedule, and this has earned us a great deal of admiration from our customers,” Mr. Malhotra stated. Significantly, L&T Modular Fabrication Yard also has the distinction of being the biggest employer of Omanis at the industrial port – an achievement it continues to build on through the pursuit of an ongoing training and recruitment programme. Around 650 Omanis are currently on the company’s rolls, with the number due to increase every year as more nationals currently under training, join the workforce. Effective from November 2012, the company has taken its training and recruitment strategy to a new level. Under a scheme, conceived and implemented under the auspices of the ‘Jusoor’ initiative, between 60 and 100 Omanis will be signed up every year for a two-year training programme at the Sohar yard. They will be put through a rigorous training regime focusing on specialist welding skills and various metalworking trades. “This approach, where the training is done entirely in-house, marks a departure from the previous scheme of training Omanis at the Vocation Training Institute at Saham, which is followed by 18 months of intensive training at the yard. As many as 360 Omanis have since been trained as specialist welders and metalworkers over the past several years under the old scheme. But this time around, we will be providing all of the training at our advanced facilities at Sohar. This is in line with our commitment to supporting the ‘Jusoor’ project, which is a joint initiative of Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) and the Omani government to support Omanisation in the industrial port,” Mr. Malhotra added. L&T Modular Fabrication Yard is a joint venture partnership of Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and The Zubair Corporation of Oman. Larsen & Toubro is a $11.7 billion technology, engineering and construction group, with global operations. It is one of the largest and most respected companies in India’s private sector. The Zubair Corporation is a prominent, well-diversified Omani business house with interests spanning automotive distribution, oil and gas, energy, travel and tourism, hospitality, engineering, construction and infrastructure development, investment, communication and information technology, education, and art and heritage.

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Taking Heavy Engineering to new heights

L & T Heavy Engineering LLC

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or a sense of its burgeoning international appeal and market reach, one only needs look at its growing list of clients. L&T Heavy Engineering now counts among its customers some of the biggest names in Oman’s hydrocarbon industry, as well as a growing number of international heavyweights. The list includes Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), Foster Wheeler (USA), Kellogg, Brown & Root (USA), Petrofac (UAE), Indian Oil Corporation (India), Equate (Kuwait), Saipem (Italy), Enerflex (Canada) and Ecopetrol (Columbia). It’s a measure of the impressive strides the company has made over the four years since it came on stream at the Port of Sohar. A joint venture between Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro Limited and The Zubair Corporation of Oman, L&T Heavy Engineering LLC operates the Sultanate’s only workshop designed and equipped to offer bespoke custom-engineered metallurgical solutions to a wide range of industries. At the heart of its Sohar operations is a massive fabrication shop fitted out with an extensive array of high-tech systems and tools suitable for the manufacture of precision engineering critical systems for core sector industries, such as Refineries, Petrochemical and Fertiliser projects, and other process industries and Power plants in the region. Its location at the industrial port, adjoining the equally modern plant of its sister firm, L&T Modular Fabrication Yard LLC, gives the Heavy Engineering unit an unbeatable advantage in meeting the increasingly complex metallurgical engineering demands of regional and international clients.

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This is evident from the company’s strong operational performance over the past four years, says Mr. Pallav Chattopadhyay, Head – L&T Heavy Engineering LLC (Sohar Works). “Our sales turnover for 2012 has been roughly twice that of figures for the previous year, while the Compound Annualised Growth Rate (CAGR) has surged 73 per cent since 2009, when the plant came into operation. Coupled with a multifold increase in order-bookings, we also expect to break even in the near future.”

Growing appeal L&T’s heavy engineering capabilities span the complete spectrum of process plant equipment and systems. This includes DHDS Reactors and Vacuum/ Crude columns for the Refineries; EO Reactors, Polypropylene Reactors and Product Splitters for Petrochemical plants; Separators, Slug Catchers, vessels and columns for the Oil and Gas industry; FCC Reactors/ Regenerators, Ammonia Converters, Secondary Reformers and heat exchangers for Fertilizer ventures; and Feed water heaters, Condensers, Coolers and specialized modular equipment for Thermal and Nuclear power plants. Over the past year, the fabrication workshop has undertaken a number of complex metallurgical projects for customers around the world. The list includes high pressure Steam Drums and Absorbers for Matix project (India), High Pressure Screw plug exchanges for Tupras (Turkey), HTBG Reactor for YPF (Argentina), MHC train reactor for Indian Oil Corporation (India), and Reactor components for Staatsolie (Suriname).


L & T Heavy Engineering’s cutting-edge workshop for high-tech, customengineered equipment is being increasingly patronized by high-profile companies from around the world.

Also currently in hand for implementation is an extensive order-book of projects. It includes Coke Drums for Ecopetrol (Columbia), vessels for Petrofac’s Badra project in Iraq, vessels for ADMA OPCO (UAE), skids for Pall Corporation (UAE) and work-over rigs for CAT’s project in Germany. Several critical Separators & Drums for Oman’s premier oilfield company PDO are currently under execution for its Lekhwair project. Adding to the unit’s capabilities is its unrivalled expertise in handling any complex metallurgy used in the fabrication industry. Among the advanced metallurgies handled by the workshop is a new generation of CrMoV creep resistant material, low alloy steel 2.25Cr-1Mo and 1.25Cr-0.5Mo grades; austenitic stainless steels – SS 321347/, SS 316L, SS 304L; Duplex stainless Steel, Ni based Incoloy 625 / 825; Quenched and tempered steel, and Ferritic stainless steel SS 410S. “L&T Heavy Engineering has some of the world’s best metallurgists and welding technologists on its rolls. Together, they have more than 75 years of solid combined experience in the handling of critical metallurgies,” said Mr. Chattopadhyay. Underlying this unique capability is the Sohar unit’s close affiliation with the Heavy Engineering division of its Indian joint venture partner, Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T). The latter has decades of proven experience in the design, engineering, global outsourcing, project management, manufacturing, inspection, testing and supply of high-tech critical equipment for the process plant, Defence & Nuclear industry worldwide. The Head of L&T’s Sohar plant lists a number of factors that have contributed to the company’s impressive performance over the past several years. Larsen & Toubro Heavy Engineering LLC, he says, has been prequalified to bid for fabrication contracts from some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious customers, including the likes of Chevron, Foster Wheeler, KBR, ADGAS, Equate, Flour, Technip, Engineers India Limited, KTI, OXY, SAIPEM, SASOL, ALSTOM and Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). “Our record for the on-time delivery of jobs undertaken at our Sohar plant has been impeccable over the past two years. We maintain a high-level of automation in all the areas of operation, thereby ensuring flawlessly engineered products that meet the precision requirements of our clients. Fabrication standards and metallurgical procedures are unquestionably world-class across all our operations,” he added.

Growth ambitions Buoyed by the growing uptake of its fabrication expertise, Larsen & Toubro Heavy Engineering LLC has ambitious plans

to upgrade and modernize its workshop to offer the widest possible portfolio of specialist services. The plant’s capabilities will be ramped up several notches with the planned addition of new generation automatic welding stations, post-weld heat treatment furnaces, heavy duty welding manipulators, milling machines, and lathes. “We also intend to develop the open yard for the manufacture of large columns / vessels, oil exploration units - such as skids, work-over rigs, well-stimulation systems, and so on. Going a step further, our next goal is to develop capabilities that can support the manufacture of extra-large diameter columns and vessels weighing up to 3,000 MT. We have also started making inroads into the Modification, Revamp and Upgrade (MRU) business, having secured a large maiden order for repair work from Saudi Arabia. All of these initiatives will translate into a healthy growth in order-bookings across all product lines, especially as investments in the global oil and gas industry escalate,” Mr. Chattopadhyay stated. In conjunction with its expansion objectives, the company is also actively pursuing initiatives to support Omanisation within its rapidly growing workforce. Omanis are presently employed in almost all sections of the company’s operations, but in line with its vision to support ‘qualitative Omanisation’, it has tied up with the Ministry of Manpower and the Vocational Training Centre in Shinas to boost the enrolment of nationals in its technical departments. The centre provides a three-year-long theoretical and practical training that prepares young Omanis for jobs at the Sohar yard. In addition, promising Omani trainees are sent to L&T’s facilities in India to undergo advanced training for periods ranging from three to 12 weeks. Besides, L&T Heavy Engineering also conducts a weekly knowledge-sharing programme, dubbed ‘Tanweer’, which enables Omani and expatriate workers alike to learn a variety of professional and personal development skills. Further, in line with its efforts to nurture a safe and healthy work environment for its staff and the surrounding industrial community, L&T Heavy Engineering undertook a large-scale ‘greening drive’ of its plot at the industrial hub. The initiative contributed to the planting of some 1,100 trees all around the site. “At the end of four years of successful operations, L&T Heavy Engineering is now poised for an exciting period of growth as the company strives to consolidate its position in the region as a one-stop provider of custom-engineered and precisionfabricated metallurgical products that are simply world-class,” Mr. Chattopadhyay added.

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PIONEERING THE GROWTH OF A FERROCHROME BASED SECTOR IN OMAN

P.O. Box: 592, Al Hamriya, Postal CodeL 131, Sultanate of Oman, Tel.: +968 24703844, Fax: +968 24793071, E-mail:admin@atifoman.com


FREEZONE SOHAR > FREEZONE SOHAR WELCOMES NEW TENANTS > Al-Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome LLC > Gulf Mining Minerals


Sohar Free Zone……. “Your Business Gateway”

Neelima Vyas Chief Operating Officer, Sohar Free Zone LLC

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he strategic location outside the Gulf of Oman and the proximity to large markets makes Sohar Free Zone a viable and efficient proposition for business to establish itself.

Spread over a large area of 4500 hectares, phase one (500Ha) is being developed as a multiproduct zone with good connectivity to the GCC through the road network and the railways in the future. Situated in the vicinity of a well established international port and airport (to be operational in 2014) the Free Zone provides an expedient platform and gateway for national, regional and international investments.

The issue of the Sohar Free Zone Royal Decree provided a positive impetus. With the civil infrastructure such as site and road accesses completed, availability of energy and utilities as well as a supportive Customs framework in place, we have presently signed about twelve clients in three major categories: I. Downstream metal & mineral cluster II. Logistics, warehouses & distribution III. Light & middle manufacturing sector We are pleased to mention the commencement of construction activities by three companies:

In order to facilitate efficient business practice and allow investors to focus on their core activities, Sohar Free Zone through its One Stop Shop, acts as a single window for company establishment matters namely licenses, permits and approval processes.

I. Al Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome which is setting up a Ferrochrome plant.

In combination with the One Stop Shop, the fiscal, duty and tax incentives applicable in the Free Zone makes foreign direct investments and national participation in the Zone easy and attractive.

III. Container Solutions in the Logistics sector

The presence of local and international banks in Oman, offering competitive banking and financing facilities, is a key part of this investor friendly environment.

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II. Dunes International which is setting up a foundry in the manufacturing sector

We are proud to announce that Sohar Free Zone is operational with one of our clients Middle East Tubing’s Limited (METS) starting its logistics operations related to oil & gas tubular pipes. We wish METS lots of success and look forward to extending our support in Sohar Free Zone.


Freezone Sohar welcomes new tenants & service providers Since its launch in 2010, Freezone Sohar has attracted a steady stream of local and international companies, drawn by its proximity to the Port of Sohar, liberal tariffs, and an investorfriendly regulatory regime. Many of these investments will materialise on the ground and commence operations during the course of 2013, transforming a largely barren landscape into a bustling manufacturing and logistics hub. Here’s a look at some of the free zone’s newest tenants and service providers: India’s Metkore to build major ferrochrome smelter

India’s Metkore Alloys & Industries Ltd will set up a world-scale 165,000 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) capacity ferrochrome smelter at Freezone Sohar. Previously known as Cronimet Alloys India, the rebranded Metkore is a leading ferroalloy manufacturer in India which, along with its associates, operates two ferroalloy plants of 15 MVA and 28 MVA capacities. Under a land lease agreement inked on 10th June 2012, Metkore will acquire a 22ha plot for the development of its massive smelter. Metkore’s Managing Director, Mr. Prashant Boorugu, cited the abundant availability of chrome ore in the Sultanate as a key factor behind the company’s decision to invest in Freezone Sohar. The project is targeted for completion in 2014.

Majis to provide water services to Freezone Sohar Freezone Sohar has signed a Water Services Agreement with Majis Industrial Services (Majis) granting the latter exclusive rights to provide water services for Phase 1 (500 hectares) of the free zone. The pact was inked on 29th May 2012 by Mr. Jamal Aziz, CEO of Freezone Sohar, and Ms. Rahma bint Hamed al Musharafi, CEO of Majis. Majis Industrial Services is a government-owned company and the leader for water and waste water business in industrial areas in Oman. Majis started its operations by providing seawater for cooling purposes to the tenants of Sohar Industrial Port Area and has since grown to become a one-stop water utilities solution provider. Recently, Majis has built a strategic alliance with Azaliya, a subsidiary of Veolia Water, the global benchmark in the design, construction and operation of water and wastewater services facilities. Freezone Sohar has attracted several large and medium sized industries, among which are two ferrochrome smelters, who will require significant amounts of industrial process water. Majis’ experience and this strategic alliance will ensure optimal justin-time water services for present and future clients of the Freezone Sohar. Under the agreement with Freezone Sohar, Majis will provide potable and process water as well as arrange for the collection and treatment of wastewater. Suhail Bahwan Group / OTE to set up logistics hub Prominent automotive distributors Suhail Bahwan Automotive and OTE are developing a logistics park of around 50ha to accommodate the activities of their respective companies. A lease agreement to this effect was inked on 20th November 2012 in the presence of His Excellency Sultan Al Habsi, Chairman of Freezone Sohar. Signing the lease on behalf of Freezone Sohar was Mr. Jamal Aziz, CEO. The private investors were represented by Sheikh

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Neelima Vyas – Chief Operating Officer

Ahmed Suhail Bahwan, Chairman of Suhail Bahwan Automotive, and Mr. Othman Suhail Bahwan al Mukhaini, Shareholder of OTE. The signing was witnessed by the visiting Mayor of Rotterdam who represents the Port of Rotterdam as the JV partner with the Government of Oman in the Port of Sohar and Freezone Sohar. The agreement paves the way for the centralization of the automotive activities of Suhail Bahwan Automotive (dealer for, amongst others, Nissan, BMW, and Renault) and OTE (dealer for, amongst others, Hyundai) in Sohar. The deal also positions

Sohar as the logistical hub for local and regional distribution of cars, spare parts and other automotive related activities. In addition, OTE plans to establish its distribution centre for electronic appliances, while also studying opportunities for consolidating its other activities in the same area. “The automotive sector and regional distribution activities are two key pillars of Freezone Sohar that have the potential to stimulate the use of Port of Sohar and thereby spur opportunities for employment generation in the region,” said Mr. Jamal Aziz, CEO – Freezone Sohar.

Metals & Minerals Cluster takes shape at Freezone Sohar Freezone Sohar hopes to attract a number of ferrochrome and steel-based investments in line with its ambitions to establish a dedicated Metals & Minerals Cluster adjoining the Port of Sohar. Land leases for a number of ferrochrome investments have been signed over the course of 2011-2012, with several more agreements in the works. “We have received very positive interest from approximately 9 – 10 companies looking at ferrochrome projects (as part of our Phase 1 development). Our criteria for selecting prospective investors are based on a desire to achieve a balance between demand and supply, availability of power capacity for Phase 1, and so on,” said Ms. Neelima Vyas, Chief Operating Officer, Freezone Sohar.

position this cluster in Sohar because the upstream part is already up and running at the nearby industrial port.” Freezone Sohar is aiming at a significant uptake of its leases, according to the Chief Operating Officer. Around 65 hectares of the 500-hectare site earmarked for development in Phase 1 had already been allotted to confirmed tenants by mid-2012. “We anticipate investments in logistics, and warehousing and distribution, both in terms of food and agriculture, but also in terms of logistics of other products – dry products, for example. We are also looking at light and middle manufacturing more in metals and minerals, not only ferrochrome, but also ferroalloys.”

On 16th May 2012, Gulf Mining Materials (GMM) signed a land lease agreement for the establishment of a new 50,000 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) ferrochrome plant at Freezone Sohar. Theirs is the second ferrochrome plant to be developed at the free zone, following the signing in September 2011 of a 75,000 mtpa ferrochrome smelter by Al Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome LLC.

Listing potential internationals markets being targeted for investment in the free zone, she added: “Our marketing strategy is targeted at countries based on the value proposition clusters that we are focusing on in Phase 1. The countries we are looking at are the GCC, South Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, China and Brazil.”

While the tenants setting up operations at the free zone represent a mixed basket of projects, investment interest in a Metal & Minerals Cluster is more positive and pronounced,” according to Ms. Vyas. “With a DRI plant upstream at the port, we are looking at a steel cluster because that’s where the value addition and downstream investments are. We hope that with this latest agreement signing, the Metals and Minerals Cluster will set into motion the development of a potential downstream sector in Oman, and obviously we can look to

Meanwhile, development of infrastructure within Phase 1 of the free zone is also continuing apace. Around $70 million has been invested so far in base civil infrastructure, pertaining mainly to site clearance, fencing, lighting, and the construction of primary roads and flood channels. Infrastructure investments are projected to rise once the government takes in hand the task of improving connectivity between the free zone and the wider road network.

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Birthing a ferrochrome smelting industry Al-Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome LLC

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n many ways, Al-Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome LLC is a pioneer in its own right, having invested in a project that, for the first time in the history of this mineral-rich nation, will add significant value to its chromite ore resources. The company is also something of a trailblazer. For, in the wake of its landmark decision to develop Oman’s maiden ferrochrome smelter, several other investors have since followed suit. In effect, Al-Tamman’s project has kickstarted the development of a cluster of ferrochrome smelters at Freezone Sohar, with the potential to spawn investments further down the value chain. Al Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome LLC is a 50-50 partnership of Al Tamman Trading Establishment LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the prominent Omani business house Muscat Overseas Group, and the Indsil Group of India. Construction work on the joint venture’s ferrochrome smelter has now reached an advanced stage at a site allocated within Freezone Sohar. The state-of-the-art facility, featuring a pair of 24 MVA furnaces, is designed to produce 75,000 tpy of high carbon ferrochrome, which is a key ingredient in stainless steel production. Commercial launch is slated for April 2013, with output proposed to be doubled to 150,000 tpy in the second phase. As is expected of any downstream investment, the smelter project has important implications for Oman’s rapidly expanding minerals sector, says Mr. Anindya Das, Financial Controller, Al-Tamman Indsil. The venture also underscores the promising potential for investment in mineral processing, value addition, and other related downstream activities in general, he notes.

“The ferrochrome project represents a first-ever effort to add value to Oman’s chrome ore deposits. Value addition will bring in significant employment – both direct and indirect – to the region, and will also showcase the Sultanate as a reliable alternative in comparison with the ferrochrome producing regions of the world,” Mr. Das commented. As Oman’s chrome ore is primarily low and medium grade in nature, the smelter project will necessarily blend the Omani ore with a little bit of imported ore. However, the bulk of the project’s requirement of chrome ore as feedstock will be sourced from the mines of Al Tamman Trading Establishment, which presently ranks among the largest producers and exporters of chromite ore in the Sultanate. The company produces significant quantities of chrome ore from its concessions in the Sharqiya and Batinah regions of the country. Importantly, the Al-Tamman Indsil JV plans to leverage Sohar’s location, given its proximity to a world-class industrial port and access to competitive energy resources, to position

Oman as a leading supplier of ferrochrome for international markets. Oman accounts for around a tenth of the world’s total production of chromite, which is primarily used in the manufacture of ferrochrome for the stainless steel industry. Small volumes of chromite are also processed for use in nonmetallurgical applications, such as the refractory industry. Longer term, the joint venture envisions significant opportunity for investment further downstream of ferrochrome production. “Considering the high quality of Oman’s port and electricity infrastructure, we see a lot of potential in stainless steel manufacturing facilities over the long term. Oman is also strategically located, with proximity to Eastern and Western markets. This would serve as a major underlying advantage for a global stainless steel hub in Sohar,” Mr. Das added. Both partners in the joint venture are committed to bringing their respective corporate strengths to bear on the performance and success of the project. Muscat Overseas Group is a well-diversified enterprise with interests in trading, contracting, oil and gas services, industry and manufacturing, real estate, agriculture, travel and tourism. The Indsil Group, based in southern India, has business interests in the manufacture of specialty alloys and the power generation sector as well. The Group operates across 3 locations in India that produce Low Carbon Silico Manganese. The Group also operates a hydroelectric power plant and a thermal power plant as part of its captive power base.

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From beneficiation to smelting

Gulf Mining Minerals

Having established one of Oman’s largest mining and mineral processing firms, Gulf Mining Minerals Co has decided to move up the value chain by investing in a major ferrochrome smelter at Freezone Sohar.

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aking a step closer to its ambition to evolve into one of the biggest mining and mineral exporting groups in the region, Gulf Mining Minerals Co (GMM) signed a strategically significant agreement with Freezone Sohar in May 2012.

The pact, witnessed by the Chairman of the Board of the Port of Sohar, as well as senior figures from Freezone Sohar, laid the ground for the establishment of one of Oman’s largest ferrochrome smelters. Representing GMM at the signing were Mr. Abdulla Ahmad Sulaiman al Hadi, Chairman, and Mr. Kanwal Gambhir, CEO. Signing on behalf of the free zone authority was Mr. Jamal T. Aziz, CEO, and Ms. Neelima Vyas, Chief Operating Officer. Since that landmark event, GMM has kicked off construction work on a state of the art ferrochrome smelter of a capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) comprising two furnaces of 16500 kva each. Established in 2005, Gulf Mining Materials Co (GMM) is a 100 per cent Omani company owned by prominent businessman Abdulla Ahmad Sulaiman al Hadi and his children. GMM has since evolved into the largest chrome ore mining and exporting company in Oman. The company predominantly mines, extracts and processes chrome, marble and laterite along with other materials. Besides mining chrome ore, GMM has set up the first-ever chrome beneficiation (up-gradation) plant in the Wilayat of Samayil with a monthly processing capacity of 15,000 metric tonnes (MT). The plant offers chrome ore concentrates of more than 38 per cent purity. The project will create good employment opportunity for Omani nationals direct and indirect – direct through employment and indirect through different service providers. With another couple of ferrochrome projects also on the anvil, Oman will become the first country to produce ferrochrome in the GCC and due to its size become a significant world player in ferroalloys.

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For the parent Gulf Mining Group, ferrochrome smelting represents a logical step in the forward integration of its chrome ore mining and chrome concentration business. The smelter will allow for the conversion of raw chrome ore, hitherto exported to international markets, into ferroalloy, thereby adding substantial value to the revenues of Gulf Mining Group and also to Oman. Chrome ore for the smelter will be primarily sourced from the company’s mines in Samayil, supplemented with procurements from other mining firms operating in the Sultanate, says Mr. Kanwal Gambhir, CEO. Small miners in particular will find it advantageous to sell their production to Gulf Mining because of volatile global commodity prices as well as other market risks, he adds. Gulf Mining will also be looking to double the capacity of its smelter to between 110,000 – 120,000 mtpa tentatively by the year 2015. Opportunities for value addition through the manufacture of ferroalloys will be explored as well, according to the CEO. Importantly, the agreement with GMM signifies the value proposition of Freezone Sohar. Its proximity to the deep draft Port of Sohar, as well as linkages with the region’s modern highways plus air and rail services in the near future, enhances the regional ‘gateway’ philosophy of Sohar’s strategic appeal, says Mr. Jamal T. Aziz. “Operating from a strategic location on the Arabian Peninsula, Freezone Sohar offers an ideal environment for business growth. The combination of wide market access, sound global logistics and attractive business incentives ensure that companies enjoy the ultimate freedom to do business. Together with the port, the new airport and upcoming railways system it further accentuates the importance of the area as a driver of economic growth in the Batinah North region. The availability of raw material, energy and local manpower further enhance the value proposition of Sohar as a destination of choice to investors,” Mr. Aziz stressed.


Logistics Cluster > Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) > Oiltanking Odfjell Terminals > C. Steinweg Oman > Sohar Bulk Terminal


THE GATEWAY TO INTERNATIONAL TRADE

• Exclusive provider of container handling services in the Port of Sohar • State-of-the-art facilities • On-site customs inspection service

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PO Box 82, PC 327, Sohar Industrial Area Sultanate of Oman Tel.: +968-2686 5600 Fax: +968-26865606 Email: info@oict.com.om www.oict.com.om


Expansion for growth Oman International Container Terminal (OICT)

Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) is preparing to expand the capacity of its worldclass terminal at the Port of Sohar, buoyed by rising container volumes, as well as prospects of a surge in throughput post the planned conversion of Muscat’s Port Sultan Qaboos into a tourism and maritime heritage port.

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fter six years of growth in container throughput, Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) is poised for a leap forward in its quest to emerge as one of the region’s premier hubs for international trade. The joint venture operator led by the renowned Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) is set to embark on an expansion of its modern terminal at the industrial port of Sohar.

During 2013, OICT will develop a new terminal which will boost its capacity in the final phases to 1.4 million TEU per annum with 68 hectares of yard. In the first phase, however, around 30 hectares of yard will be developed to cater for a throughput capacity of 800,000 TEU. The quay wall will be doubled to 970 metres, while three new quay cranes designed to handle a new generation of mega containerships will be added to OICT’s current equipment. This ambitious initiative, barely six years after it commenced operations in September 2006, attests to OICT’s robust appeal as a gateway for international trade just outside the Strait of Hormuz. Summing up the joint venture company’s performance over the past two years, as well as the factors contributing to this growth, a company spokesperson said: “OICT’s quay crane productivity over the past years has been stable at 25 moves per hour. Volumes have increased from 99K TEU in 2009 to 111K TEU in 2011. A further increase in local volumes had been witnessed during 2012, boosted by additional throughput from transshipment volumes. As a result of this volumes

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terminal’s growing regional and international appeal. Major lines include APL, Maersk, CMA CGM, UASC, Balaji Shipping Lines, Oman Shipping Company, Hanjin line, HMM, and China Shipping, as well as several common feeder operators and other NVOCCs. Attention is now focused on the development of a bigger and better-equipped, state-of-the-art terminal that promises to drive OICT’s growth, and indeed that of Sohar Port, over the long term. With a quay wall that is twice the current length, OICT is gearing up to provide a significantly enhanced service to shipping lines that will ultimately translate into better savings for port users. In addition to the deployment of the latest quay cranes, the operator also plans to invest in a new fleet of rubber tyred gantry cranes, terminal tractors, twin spreaders, and other terminal equipment. Terminal procedures will also be simplified to offer complete ease of convenience to port users.

growth, the number of vessel calls has also been on the rise, while average volumes per vessel call have been increasing as well.” A key factor underpinning OICT’s appeal to shippers, consignees and shipping lines is its location outside the Strait of Hormuz, according to the official. “Shipping lines save almost three days of steaming time on their mainline routes, which in turn contributes to significant savings on bunker. Furthermore, with a new rail link envisioned between the GCC states, coupled with a well-connected road network, shipping lines can now consider using Sohar Port as a hub for the delivery of cargo to other Gulf states in a cost-effective manner. Indeed, a number of importers and exporters based in the Upper Gulf have already begun using OICT as an alternative gateway, given the logistical and cost advantages offered by our Sohar facilities.” Also underscoring OICT’s appeal is the superior quality of its facilities and services – a characteristic feature of all HPHoperated terminals around the world. A maximum draft of -18 metres allows for most of the world’s largest container vessels to call at Sohar. Besides, shipping lines stand to benefit enormously from the rapid vessel turnarounds and high productivity levels that inevitably result from calling at OICT’s congestion-free terminal. Not surprisingly, some of the world’s leading shipping companies have begun calling at OICT, attesting to the

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Ahead of the planned launch of its new terminal, OICT has also begun training and developing additional staff to support 24x7 vessel operations. Significant numbers of young Omanis have been recruited and put through intensive training programmes in keeping with OICT’s goal to ensure the delivery of international standard services at Sohar. Omanisation is targeted at an impressive 78 per cent in a demonstration of the operator’s commitment to supporting local employment. Further, with the aim of ramping up terminal performance, OICT plans to make significant investments in improved IT infrastructure, the OICT official said. “We will invest in a new ERP system, automated container inspection system, and automated reefer monitoring capabilities, besides continuing to investigate options for further improvements in overall terminal performance.” A member of the HPH Group, the world’s leading port developer and operator, OICT also groups the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, Steinweg of the Netherlands and a number of other well-established Omani investors. The HPH network of port operations comprises 318 berths in 52 ports, spanning 26 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia. Over the years, HPH has expanded internationally into other logistics, transportation-related and hotel businesses. These include cruise ship terminals, airport and hotel operations, distribution centres, rail services, and ship repair facilities. In 2011, the HPH port network handled a combined throughput of 75.1 million TEU worldwide, representing approximately 13 per cent of the world’s container traffic.


As the nation’s refining and petrochemicals flagship, Orpic has also made a strong commitment to Health, Security, Safety and Environment (HSSE) goals. It has embraced a policy that aims to meet or exceed all national environmental regulations covering the operation of its plants.

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A new benchmark in the independent terminaling industry Oiltanking Odfjell Terminals

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omplementing Sohar Port’s flourishing refining and petrochemicals cluster is a bulk liquid storage terminal whose robust growth over the past several years has largely mirrored the industrial port’s stellar development as a logistics hub. Launching operations in August 2008, the central tank terminal of Oiltanking Odfjell Terminals & Co. LLC (OOTO) is today one of the principal nerve centres of the port’s increasingly diverse logistics business.

“We have grown into one of the biggest terminals in the region, having developed a very good niche for ourselves at Sohar Port,” says Mr. Morten Albriktsen, CEO, Oiltanking Odfjell Terminals. “Thanks to Sohar’s very strategic location, our tank farm facilities are very attractive to a growing number of international majors trading in Clean Petroleum Products (CPP), as well as in fine chemicals. In fact, Oiltanking Odfjell now caters to a healthy mix of captive clients at the port and a growing portfolio of multinational traders.” Oiltanking Odfjell Terminals & Co LLC is a joint venture of Oiltanking Odfjell Oman BV (70 per cent), the state-owned energy and strategic investment vehicle Oman Oil Company (25 per cent), and a private investment company (5 per cent). Oiltanking Odfjell Oman is itself a partnership of two of the world’s biggest names in the bulk liquid transportation and terminaling industry. Together, the two international partners along with their Omani investors have underpinned the joint venture’s rapid growth over the past four years. In the last year, prompted by strong demand growth, the company added 425,000 cubic metres of new capacity. The expansion boosting the overall capacity of the tank farm to a world-class 1.267 million cubic metres, dedicated primarily to the storage of clean petroleum products. Clean petroleum product volumes handled at the terminal have soared since the commissioning of the new capacity, the CEO said. Further, in a significant effort to diversify its terminaling services, the joint venture added 27,300 cubic metres of new capacity earmarked primarily for the storage of chemical products. Ten new tanks, designed to hold chemical products, such as solvents, glycols, iso-cyanates and acrylic esters, were commissioned recently. “With this roughly $25 million investment in new chemical

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storage capacity, Oman Oiltanking Odfjell has effectively ventured into new territory,” said Mr. Albriktsen. “Having mainly focused on the storage of clean petroleum products (CPP) for the local industry, we are now getting into chemical storage for third parties. This opens new markets for us and positions Sohar as a transit hub not only for the local business, but also for imports and exports by independent traders catering to the greater GCC region. Thus, having already established ourselves as a hub for CPP traders, we are now also becoming more of a hub for fine chemicals,” he added. Oman Oiltanking Odfjell’s robust appeal – all of its CPP storage capacity is already pledged under long-term commitments – is underpinned foremost by its strategic location just outside the Hormuz Strait, says the CEO. This vantage position allows the terminal to support trade and cargo flows within the Middle East region as well as flows from the Gulf to other continents and regions. Also buttressing its appeal is a combination of factors: multiple deepwater berths, state-of-the-art line system, and high-pressure pump facilities that come with the assurance of a rapid and efficient


turnaround at Sohar Port. Various pipeline connections link the terminal to adjacent petroleum and petrochemical facilities, while services such as truck loading, blending and additive injection offer opportunities for significant value addition, he explains. Also as part of its remit, the joint venture manages the port’s modern liquid jetty on behalf of Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC). All six berths, two of which are dedicated for the refinery’s operations, have witnessed strong growth in vessel calls – an uptrend that has also necessitated an expansion of jetty facilities, according to Mr. Albriktsen. “We are currently discussing with SIPC the possibility of expanding the waterfront to enable the growth of the tank terminal in line with projected demand growth. At least two new berths (also referred to as Bitumen berths) are required. As with all new infrastructure, SIPC will develop the substructure while we will invest in the superstructure, such as the loading arms, pipelines, fire fighting systems and so on. We are optimistic about an early decision on this matter,” the CEO added. In 2004, the partnership of Oiltanking and Odfjell signed

a contract for the operation of liquid berthing facilities and the development of an independent bulk liquids storage terminal at Sohar industrial port. It marked the coming together of two international heavyweights each bringing to bear on the joint venture their unrivalled strengths in the construction and operation of a world-class terminal. A subsidiary of Marquard & Bahls AG, Germany, a leading privately-owned petroleum company, Oiltanking is the second largest independent tank storage provider for petroleum products, chemicals and gases worldwide. The company owns and operates 73 terminals in 22 countries with a total storage capacity of more than 19.7 million cubic metres. Odfjell SE is a leading company in the global market of transporting chemicals and other specialty bulk liquids as well as providing related logistical services. The fleet totals about 96 ships. Odfjell also owns and operates 19 terminals in 12 countries with an overall storage capacity of 5.4 million cubic metres.

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Gateway to Omani industry

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s the first logistics investor to set up operations back in the early days of Sohar Port’s establishment, Steinweg Oman is credited with playing a pivotal role in the rapid development of the maritime gateway and industrial hub. Then, its multipurpose terminal served as a crucial bridgehead in the handling of project cargo imported for a variety of industrial and logistics ventures that have since come on stream at the port. Now, while such cargoes continue to be a routine feature of its operations, the Steinweg Terminal is also handling growing volumes of assorted merchandise linked to industries operating in the vast hinterland. Indeed, Steinweg’s busy terminal offers a snapshot of the increasingly diverse types of industries that have mushroomed along the Batinah coast and beyond, thanks in significant part to the establishment of a maritime gateway at Sohar. Arrayed across the 40-hectare expanse of the terminal are clusters of steel products, project cargo, drilling pipes, cars, RO-RO merchandise, and a host of other types of break-bulk cargoes. Volumes – both inbound and outbound – have been on the increase as Steinweg continues to serve as the principal logistics lifeline to industries contributing to this throughput.

A total logistics services provider, Steinweg Oman is equipped to handle a complete range of industrial project cargoes, as well as a wide range of break-bulk, dry-bulk and RO-RO cargoes. The terminal also boasts a 700-metre-long quay and 16.5-metre draft that allows for almost all types of ships to call at the port.

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C. Steinweg Oman

Ongoing investments in developing and modernizing the terminal’s facilities have translated into a significant improvement in customer benefits, such as terminal capacity and efficiency. Terminal infrastructure is now almost fully in place, with a new office building having been commissioned during the year. Also in operation is a state-of-the-art entry and exit gate. Further, in an effort to make the terminal ISPScompliant, all of the requisite safety measures linked to this important certification have been put in place. After a spell of runaway growth in cargo throughput during the initial five years of operation, throughput trends have largely stabilized in recent years in line with broader domestic economic growth. But in some segments the growth has been very pronounced. Steel products, such as plates and coils, continue to witness strong growth. So is the case with the import of cars and other RO-RO goods. Drilling pipes for the oil and gas industry are a fast-growing import commodity as well. Other types of cargo handled by the terminal include cement and dry bulk commodities. Also auguring well for Steinweg Oman is its growing partnership with Oman International Container Terminal (OICT) in the operation of a Container Freight Station (CFS). Under this arrangement, Steinweg undertakes to strip or stuff containers within the port at the request of clients – an initiative that has been strongly welcomed by shippers. More and more companies are interested in getting their containers stripped or stuffed at the port, thereby enabling the delivery of goods to their final destination in regular trucks. The CFS facility also offers temporary storage options for stuffed and stripped cargoes.


Rising cargo throughput at C. Steinweg Oman’s general cargo terminal at the Port of Sohar attests to the healthy growth of the domestic industry, as well as the wider national economy.

Transshipment is another important activity that Steinweg Oman is eager to develop. Sohar’s strategic location at the entrance to the Arabian Gulf offers excellent options for the storage of transshipment cargoes to destinations in the region or further afield. Already, a number of local industries are using Steinweg’s terminal for transshipment and storage purposes. Underscoring its transshipment appeal is the designation of the entire terminal as a bonded area, which effectively allows shippers to store or transship their goods without import duties. A 5,000 sq metre covered warehouse built on site has also attracted a strong uptake from clients.

Sustaining growth But it’s the newly established Freezone Sohar that holds out significant promise for sustained volumes growth over the long term at Steinweg Oman. The special economic zone, adjoining the industrial port, has been attracting a steady stream of investors focused on primarily ferrochrome and logistics related projects. Their activities will undoubtedly generate cargo volumes, part of which will be routed through the general cargo terminal. Promoting downstream investment in the free zone, particularly in ventures downstream to the base metals industries at Sohar, is thus seen as imperative to sustaining cargo volumes at the terminal. For its part, Steinweg is committed to enhancing the free zone’s appeal to potential investors by offering bespoke solutions to clients that would make it attractive for them to set up operations there. This commitment is already evident in the range of services provided to customers, as well as the

wide spectrum of cargo handling equipment already installed at the terminal. This would allow for Steinweg to cater to all manner of clients looking to route their goods through the general cargo terminal. C. Steinweg Oman is backed by C. Steinweg-Handelsveem, the Dutch-based international stevedoring firm with unrivalled expertise in terminal operation spanning the entire logistics chain. In addition to stevedoring, the company also specialises in warehousing, shore-transfers of different types of cargoes, freight forwarding, and chartering services. The group has a worldwide presence with terminals spanning four continents.

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Bulking up Sohar Bulk Terminal

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landmark decision by the Port of Sohar to establish a dedicated terminal for the handling of aggregates, minerals and dry bulk commodities has begun to pay healthy dividends barely a year since a long-term concession was awarded to this effect. Exports of gabbro – an industrial mineral used in concrete and asphalt mixtures – have picked up, while miners of raw minerals are gearing up to capitalise on this new facility to grow their respective businesses. Dubbed the ‘Sohar Bulk Terminal’, the new dry bulk jetty promises to serve as a powerful catalyst that will open up the vast hinterland of Oman’s Batinah North and South governorates to mining, quarrying and mineral-based investment. Already, the hinterland is a prodigious source of copper concentrate, chromite and marble, and constructiongrade aggregate, much of which is shipped out via Sohar Port.

In December 2011, the consortium of Khimji Ramdas Shipping of Oman and India-based Tata Martrade International Logistics Limited (TMILL), a subsidiary of Tata Steel, signed a long-term concession agreement with Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) for the operation of the Sohar Bulk Terminal at the industrial hub. The terminal has been built as an extension of the 1,380-metrelong deepwater jetty currently operated by Vale Oman as part of its massive iron ore pelletising plant and distribution complex at Sohar. A 220-metre length of the jetty has been developed into a dry bulk mineral terminal. Designed to serve both import and export cargoes, the terminal will have a capacity to handle up to 10 million tons of aggregates and dry bulk commodities per year. In addition, the Common Operator will secure a lease for a plot of land, initially of around nine hectares, for use as a stockyard catering to all kinds of mineral ores, aggregates and dry bulk commodities. The stockyard, located just behind the plot of L&T Heavy Engineering, will be connected to the Dry Bulk Terminal by means of a conveyor system. The stockyard can also be utilized for blending, processing and other value addition investments. While Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) has invested in the jetty infrastructure, the superstructure along with the loaders and unloaders, as well as conveyors systems and utilities, will be provided for by the common operator. The JV has engaged the services of a specialised design consultant to prepare a preliminary engineering concept plan and evaluate the superstructure requirements linked to the

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operation of a 10 million tons per annum capacity terminal. This is being done in consultation with SIPC’s technical team. The terminal will be equipped to handle various kinds of minerals, including aggregates, ores, limestone and thermal coal, to name a few. Among the major superstructure facilities envisaged for installation at the terminal is a combined ship loader/unloader with a loading capacity of 4500 tons per hour (TPH) and unloading capacity of 2500 TPH. Also planned is a 3.6 kilometre long unified conveying system for inbound and outbound cargo. Furthermore, a combined stacker and reclaimer system is proposed to be established at the 9-hectare storage yard earmarked by SIPC for dry bulk volumes. The equipment is targeted for installation and commissioned within 18 months of the approval of the evaluation study. But pending the completion of superstructure facilities at the new terminal, dry bulk volumes are currently being handled from Berth No. 14, which has been temporarily allocated to the joint venture operator. A 45,000 sq metre area has also been earmarked for use as a provisional stockyard adjoining this temporary berth. The berth has been equipped to handle around 10,000 tons per day of aggregates and raw minerals,


Adding a whole new dimension to Sohar Port’s logistics capability, the newly launched Sohar Bulk Terminal has opened the way for the handling of minerals and other bulk commodities.

but handling capacity will be ramped up if volume trends grow, according to the consortium partners. The JV pairs Khimji Ramdas Shipping, one of the largest and most diversified providers of shipping and maritime services in the Sultanate, with Tata Martrade International Logistics (TMILL), an internationally renowned integrated marine logistics services company. A subsidiary of the Indian steel conglomerate, Tata Steel, TMILL specializes in bulk and break bulk handling with operations at a number of major Indian ports. At the Port of Haldia on India’s east coast, TMILL operates a terminal dedicated to the bulk handling of commodities like iron ore, limestone, fertilizer raw material, among others, in addition to break bulk cargoes such as steel products and project cargo. The company also operates a facility at a new deepwater port at Dhamra jointly developed by Tata Steel and Larsen & Toubro also on India’s east coast. The terminal is designed to handle 25 million tons of coal and other ores annually. TMILL also handles millions of tonnes of commodities for Tata Steel through various other Indian ports, notably at Paradip and Gangavaram. For Khimji Ramdas Shipping, the partnership with TMILL marks

another addition to its increasingly diversified portfolio of shipping and maritime services in the Sultanate. The Omani company has already forged robust links with a number of leading global maritime and logistics services provider, including Fuji Trading, Schenker and Ocean Sparkle. It also represents a large number of reputable container shipping lines, common carrier feeder operators, tanker operators and cruise liners, besides undertaking shipchandling, project handling, P&I Club representation, insurance, and husbanding services for naval ships. Significantly, the Sohar Bulk Terminal has the potential to position the Sultanate of Oman as the supplier of choice of construction materials for offshore marine structures and big ticket property ventures such as The Palm Jumeirah and The World. Aggregate exporters in the Sultanate have also set their sights on the 2022 World Cup Soccer championship in Qatar where the government plans to spend a staggering $100 billion in stadiums and schemes linked to this prestigious event – projects that will require huge volumes of construction materials. Omani firms hope to capitalize on Sohar’s proximity and world-class infrastructure to bag lucrative supply contracts linked to the World Cup event.

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Service Providers > International Maritime College Oman (IMCO) > Svitzer Sohar LLC > GulF Agency Company Oman (GAC) > Middle East Shipping & Transport Co LLC (MEST) > Majan Electricity Company SAOC > Crowne Plaza Sohar > Sohar Beach Hotel > Sohar University > Bank Muscat > Oman Arab Bank


High-tech classrooms, simulators, and an ocean view International Maritime College Oman (IMCO)

Having celebrated the graduation of its third batch recently, the Sohar-based International Maritime College Oman (IMCO) continues to live up to its billing as the region’s premier provider of maritime academic services in the Gulf region.

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rom its prime beachfront location and impressive façade to its high-tech labs and unmatched course offerings, everything about the new Sohar campus of the International Maritime College Oman (IMCO) is unquestionably world-class – attributes that are further accentuated by its proximity to one of the region’s largest industrial ports.

Indeed, ever since it was relocated from temporary premises in Muscat to a purpose-built campus adjoining the Port of Sohar in September 2010, IMCO has been attracting singular praise as the region’s top higher learning institutions for maritime and process operations studies. The state-of-the-art facility has been the institution of choice for a growing number of international students seeking careers in maritime, shipping, transport and process operations. It is also a key training centre for Oman’s multi-billion dollar petrochemicals and processing industry.

Since it first opened its doors to local and international students in September 2005, IMCO has been growing by leaps and bounds in a testament of its robust appeal as the Gulf’s leading maritime academic services institution. “The college continues to expand,” says IMCO Dean Dr. Hilal Al Hadhrami. “We started the 2011/2012 academic year with 1,180 full-time students and 330 part-time students. Of this total, the majority are from Oman, while the rest come from many other countries of the world, such as Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Cameroon and the United Arab Emirates. By end-2012, we had around 1,510 students on our rolls, but this number is projected to rise during the next academic year.”

Future expansion Any expansion however will be pursued only at a future date, the Dean notes, stressing the accent is presently on consolidation and quality enhancement. “The new campus is a fully integrated all-purpose series of buildings designed to accommodate all the facilities necessary for IMCO and its students. The college is looking to expand in the future, both in size to meet the growing number of students, and in services to be provided to the students and the surrounding industry. However for now we are giving more attention to consolidation and to enhancing quality rather than increasing quantity,” Dr Al Hadhrami explained.

IMCO was established in 2005 as a joint venture between the Government of the Sultanate of Oman (70 per cent) and the STC Group of the Netherlands (30 per cent). The Rotterdambased STC Group has more than 30 years of experience providing an innovative learning environment for students in the maritime, transport and oil and gas industries.

IMCO offers a portfolio of Bachelor’s degree and diploma programmes in Port, Shipping and Transport Management, Nautical Studies, and Marine Engineering, as well as Process Operations Technology. The college also conducts short courses in operations engineering, shipping and marine transportation management, as well as marine navigation. Partnering IMCO in this endeavour is the STC Group of Rotterdam, hailed as one of the best-known maritime academic service providers in the world.

Set on an 8.5 hectare site overlooking the blue expanse of the Sea of Oman, the new Sohar campus was formally inaugurated on 11th January 2012 in the presence of a number of dignitaries from Oman and the Netherlands. In attendance were His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tareq al Said, Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan, His Excellency Said bin Hamdoon al Harthy, Under-Secretary of Ports and Maritime Affairs and Chairman of IMCO, and His Excellency Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, among other highranking officials. On the same day, Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, along with her royal retinue, toured the campus and expressed admiration for its high standards.

“IMCO prepares its maritime students very well for the market by offering up-to-date diploma, degree and short course curricula and applying a range of teaching methodologies and techniques,” said Dr Al Hadhrami. “For example, students are trained during their studies on a modern bridge simulator, an engine room simulator, and a chain supply simulator, which enable them to experience and deal with typical live situations in simulated work environments. This practical orientation is further supported by our apprenticeship programme, where we enlist our maritime students for extended periods of time on board Omani ships, mainly owned by Oman Shipping Company (OSC). In December 2011 IMCO signed an MoU with OSC to

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facilitate a hundred training slots for IMCO students on her vessels.”

Berthing complexities In one of the most remarkable training initiatives carried out to date, IMCO worked alongside its Rotterdam partners to prepare a team of tug masters for the complex, and potentially perilous, task of berthing Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOCs) at Sohar Port’s deepwater jetty. “Berthing the largest ship in the world requires very close cooperation on movements between the Pilot and tug masters involved, since there is more than one tug involved in the operation. However IMCO has a Bridge Simulator which allowed us to run exercises where the Pilot was handling the large vessel from one bridge and the tug master was responding, commanding a tug boat, from another bridge, in the detailed simulated environment of Port of Sohar. This enabled the pilots and tug masters to practise, develop and optimise the cooperative skills necessary for safe berthing, prior to the actual berthing,” the Dean commented. Importantly, teaching and training facilities at IMCO are both diverse and cutting-edge. The College boasts a variety of workshops and labs, including a Seamanship and Safety lab, Electrical workshop, Mechanical workshop, Engine Room workshop, Physics and Chemistry labs and a Process Operations Workshop and Simulator. To suit the needs of the maritime industry, IMCO has a full suite of TRANSAS Simulators, notably a Full Mission Bridge

Simulator, where all of the world’s major harbours and ship models can be simulated. Also available is a Full Mission Engine Room Simulator, comprising a fully equipped Technical Control Room where procedures can be trained either standalone or in cooperation with the Bridge Simulators. “We also have a classroom with 24 stations equipped with an Engine Room Simulator (PC-based) and a Cargo Handling Simulator (for loading and discharging cargo such as oil or gas),” Dr Al Hadhrami said. For the needs of Port Operations, Logistics and Transportation students, IMCO has installed a Transport Chain Simulator where the full logistics chain process can be simulated and trained. This simulator is unique in the region and has been developed

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by partners, STC. Furthermore, to train crane operators IMCO has a Drilling Systems Crane simulator.

‘Win-win’ partnership Underscoring its success as the pre-eminent provider of maritime and industrial training services is its proximity to Sohar Port and other industrial facilities. This is primarily because students enrolling for Port, Shipping and Transport (PST) as well as Process Operations Technology (POT) programmes must typically spend certain periods of time within industry. There they gain industrial work experience, as well as carry out academic tasks, including a graduation project, mentored by IMCO academic staff and experts from the company to which they are attached. “Being close to Sohar Port is a blessing for us, as we are close to such a range of industries,” Dr Al Hadhrami explained. “We are very grateful to the many companies in Sohar Port which have been cooperating with us and supporting our Port, Shipping and Transport (PST) and Process Operations Technology (POT) students, who benefit greatly from the training and guidance provided by their professional staff. To guarantee continuity of cooperation in this regard IMCO has signed Memoranda of Understanding with some SIPC companies, while IMCO is also a member of Soharlinks, which concentrates on enhancing cooperation and coordination between its members.” Backing IMCO in its goal to deliver world-class training services in the Sultanate are its shareholders, represented by the Omani Ministry of Manpower and STC Group of Rotterdam. The College receives extensive support from the Ministry of Manpower, as the supervisory authority from the Omani government side. The Ministry of Transport and Communications, for its part, provides the necessary licensing authorisations for IMCO courses and conducts the Certificate of Competency (COC) tests, which are necessary for the certification of its Nautical Studies and Marine Engineering students. IMCO also receives steady support from its partners, STC Group, particularly through the provision of numerous experts, both those attached to the Maritime Studies and Port Shipping and Transport departments, and those who assist in running specialised short courses, Dr Al Hadhrami said. Given the strong uptake of its programmes, the Dean sees significant potential for a future expansion of IMCO’s intake capacity with a view to meeting the growing number of students, as well as the emerging demands of industry.

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In the short-term however, the College is sufficiently equipped to fulfil anticipated demand. Nevertheless, it is planning to enhance it capabilities by adding a Fire Training Centre to meet the growing demand for fire fighting training from the industry, Dr. Al Hadhrami said. Also envisaged is a ramp-up in ties with local industry. “IMCO is looking forward to expanding its services and building solid and long-term relations with the Port of Sohar and local industries in particular, and with international industry in general. We have already prepared a variety of specialized short courses that are suitable for industry, and our experts, with support from STC group, can also offer tailor-made courses whenever feasible,” the Dean added. IMCO recently celebrated its third graduation, with 193 graduates receiving their degree and diploma certificates in different fields. These students have since begun providing their newfound skills to local companies, and even, in some cases, international industries.


Piloting Oman’s future maritime growth Svitzer Sohar LLC

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s the sole provider of towage services at the Port of Sohar, Svitzer Sohar continues to play an indispensable part in the ongoing success of the nation’s biggest maritime gateway. It’s a role that the world’s leading marine services provider is now eager to replicate elsewhere along the Sultanate’s coast, in support of the nation’s maritime and economic development, says Mr. Willem De Vries, Country Manager – Svitzer Sohar. Svitzer’s association with the Port of Sohar dates back to February 2005, when under an exclusive Marine Services Contract, the

professionalism expected of the world’s undisputed leader in this field. Traffic into the port has been steadily rising in the wake of the government’s decision to convert Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat into a tourism and heritage port. For our part, Svitzer is gearing up to meet the strong uptrend projected in traffic growth at Oman’s busiest port,” Mr. de Vries commented. A fifth tug is expected to be added soon to Svitzer’s fleet of four tugs currently in operation at Sohar Port. In addition, more

Drawing strength from 175 years of experience as a global provider of terminal towage services, Svitzer’s Oman subsidiary is gearing up for a dramatic increase in business growth as maritime traffic soars to new highs in the Sultanate.

company began providing berthing, unberthing and pilotage of all ships calling the industrial port. In fact, Svitzer’s powerful azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugs were on hand when the first commercial ships began calling at the port at the outset of operations in 2004. Shipping traffic has ballooned since 2004, when the company handled a mere 44 vessels. In 2012, the company’s fleet of modern tugs provided safe, efficient and unrivalled pilotage services to an estimated 2,000 vessels that called at Sohar. “Our tugs operate virtually round the clock at Sohar Port, providing marine services with the seamanship and

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crews are being added to cater for the upturn in maritime traffic at the industrial hub – a move that will contribute to the training and development of young Omanis for jobs in the country’s burgeoning marine services industry. Omanisation and local engagement are key objectives of Svitzer’s long-term vision for growth in Oman, according to the Country Manager. “We are committed to opening up new possibilities for Omanis in our current and future operations. And as part of our goal to create a sustainable pool of trained and qualified Omani crew for our operations, we have recently recruited 16 fresh graduates from the International Maritime


College Oman (IMCO). Svitzer Sohar is investing in their training and development to eventually serve as Tug Masters and Chief Engineers. Our existing crews, who have acquired the experience and professional skills, but lack formal academic qualifications, will be extended the same opportunities as well,” added Mr. de Vries.

giant, AP Moller Maersk, In fact, it is this superior prowess in pilotage and towage services that was strongly in evidence when Svitzer’s tugs helped safely and flawlessly berth the ironore laden behemoths of Vale Oman when they began calling at Sohar Port for the first time in 2011.

Crucial for Svitzer is that all crew are in the possession of internationally recognised certificates, allowing them to operate vessels under all circumstances. Svitzer is also

“It was ‘all hands on deck’ when the first 400,000-ton ore carrier of Vale visited Sohar during its landmark sailing to Oman in early 2011,” recalls Mr. de Vries. “Our crews were suitably trained for all of the scenarios involving the handling of this

investing in the continuous upgrade and maintenance of the knowledge levels of both crew and on-site management staff through the in-house Training Department of Svitzer Oman.

giant vessel. In the end, the massive ore carrier was safely berthed in a precise operation that won us the appreciation of the ship’s master and the port management.”

The Country Manager credits Svitzer Sohar’s successful run in the Sultanate to the formidable resources and unrivalled expertise of its parent group, Svitzer. “Svitzer’s Oman operations are backed by a global enterprise that operates in excess of 500 tugs in more than 40 countries worldwide, coupled with skills in seamanship and marine support services amassed over 175 years. Our unmatched expertise in this field is also underpinned by our association with the global shipping

Significantly, Svitzer’s operations in the Sultanate of Oman predates Sohar Port’s launch as an industrial hub. In 1998, the group’s local subsidiary, Oman Terminal & Towage Company (OTTC) was signed up by the government to provide pilotage and towage services at Oman LNG’s shipping terminal at Qalhat in Sur. A fleet of four tugs currently provides a complete range of marine services to vessels calling at the gas liquefaction terminal.

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Now, into the 15th year of successful operations in the Sultanate, Svitzer sees abundant opportunities to grow its business in trend with the development of Oman’s maritime industry. “We have identified a number of opportunities to develop and expand our business in Oman over the coming years. Our goal is to maintain our leadership position as the premier provider of marine services in the Sultanate. Towards this end, we are training and developing young Omanis for the pilotage and towage business in Oman, and thereby investing in the nation’s maritime future. Our vision is to achieve a 100 per cent increase in our business over the next two years in order to sustain Oman’s growth ambitions in the shipping and maritime sector,” the Country Manager added.

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OTTC/Svitzer Sohar LLC Muscat Apartment 11 Building 2695, Way 1033 qurum, Muscat Sultanate of Oman, Phone: +968 2456 2695, Fax: +968 2456 2695

www.svitzer.com


Bunker Fuels Freight Services International Moving Land Transportation Offshore Support Project Logistics Protection & Indemnity Ship Agency Ship Spares Logistics Ship Supply Warehousing and Distribution

for global reach and local expertise From the port of Sohar and Salalah to any part of the world, GAC Oman provides a comprehensive portfolio of shipping, logistics and marine services to serve every customer’s needs. Click for everything from ship agency and ship supply services to freight, project logistics and offshore support. It’s another world-class solution from GAC - available in over a thousand locations on earth.

Gulf Agency Company (Oman) L.L.C. P.O.Box 740 - Ruwi 112 Sultanate of Oman Tel: +968 244 77 800 Email: muscat@gac.com www.gac.com/oman

www.gac.com 100Port of Sohar 2013


Best of breed GAC Oman

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or a sense of the formidable shipping, transportation and logistics capabilities of GAC Oman, the example of its handling of the logistics requirements of Vale Oman is a case in point.

In developing the largest and most complex nonhydrocarbon based industrial plant at the Port of Sohar, Vale Oman had to settle for nothing less than the logistics industry’s finest. GAC Oman eminently fitted the bill. After all, the latter had only recently been ranked the nation’s Best Local and Regional Brand in the logistics industry, as well as the Best Supporting Agent at the ports of Muscat and Sohar. Says Mr. Daniel Nordberg, General Manager – GAC Oman: “Given the size and complexity of the project, the Vale Oman contract was a demonstration of confidence in our ability to deliver to the high standards expected of Oman’s leading shipping and logistics services provider. We handled every aspect of Vale Oman’s logistics operation – from the heavy lift cargo for the construction of the plant, to smaller equipment.

We are currently handling their export shipments of iron ore pellets and fines, and continue to serve as freight forwarders for spare parts and other equipment.” Launching operations in the Sultanate at the outset of the country’s modern renaissance, GAC Oman has evolved and grown in sync with the nation’s modernization and development over the years. Today, it is the only fully integrated and independent logistics and shipping services provider in the Sultanate, and ranks among the country’s top three LCL and air freight businesses. “Our business philosophy has always been in line with the vision of Oman’s infrastructural development, and in response to market demands and our customers’ requests, to extend our operations to new locations. We started operations at Sohar with the port’s inception in 2004 and opened our office there in 2006 to meet demand generated by the growth of commercial activity in the area. That office is now fully geared to meet our clients’ every need for shipping and logistics support,” said Mr. Nordberg. As an end-to-end logistics services provider, GAC Oman’s expertise includes air and ocean freight, bunker fuel supplies, clearance & forwarding, international moving, land transportation, offshore support, project logistics, P & I

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representation, ship agency, ship spares logistics, ship supply service and a wide range of supporting services, which may be tailored to meet the specific needs of each customer. GAC’s diverse customer base includes ship owners and operators, major FMCG manufacturers and energy companies. “We focus on efficiency, innovation and partnership with our customers. This has resulted in strategic alliances, renewed contracts and enhanced partnerships with key clients, which bear witness to their confidence in GAC - both locally and globally.” Sohar remains one of the principal nerve centres of GAC’s operations in the Sultanate. The Sohar office is strategically located approximately 5km from the port area near the Muscat–Dubai Highway and opposite the Sohar Industrial Estate, within easy reach of the company’s clients and the markets it serves. The importance attributed by GAC to its Sohar operations is reflected in the professional calibre of its local staff. An 11-member team of experienced personnel attend to all shipping and logistics operations at Sohar. These operations are supported by three other offices (in Muscat, Salalah and Sur). Together they form a network that provides nationwide services at all major ports including Port Sultan Qaboos, Mina Al Fahal, Salalah, Qalhat LNG & Urea terminal, Duqm and Khasab Port. Underpinning the company’s success is an enduring and robust commitment to customer satisfaction benchmarked to international standards. “The renowned GAC brand represents

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the composite of our global presence, experience, expertise and dedication of our staff, as well as the GAC Group’s strong Code of Ethics and firm focus on complete compliance with all HSSE policies. That insistence on the most stringent HSSE and ethical standards is essential when working with the multinational companies,” Mr. Nordberg explains. “As a leading service provider, GAC aims to respond swiftly to changes and opportunities. GAC goes where our customers need us. We never take anything for granted or underestimate the competition. We encourage enthusiasm and innovation in our people to ensure that they work effectively towards common goals, build our knowledge base and anticipate and meet our clients’ needs. That’s what it takes to be a successful global service organization,” the General Manager adds. Significantly, GAC Oman sees its staff and their local knowhow as its biggest asset. Of the 199 employees that make up GAC Oman’s national workforce, 118 are Omanis, underscoring the company’s commitment to recruiting and developing the professional skills of nationals. This commitment has also been formally recognized by the Ministry of Manpower. Having built a reputation as a market leader after 40 years of doing business in Oman, GAC now intends to build further on this legacy. “GAC Oman shares the Sultanate’s vision for efficient growth and development in new markets. The past few years have brought steady growth with the company going from strength to strength, significant new business wins and contract renewals with large organisations that have helped to underline GAC’s credentials as an innovative, customer-driven organization,” Mr. Nordberg adds.


Going the distance Middle East Shipping & Transport Co LLC (MEST)

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t’s no coincidence that maiden cargo shipments arriving at Sohar Port, eight years ago, and Duqm Port in April 2012, were handled by the same transport firm: Middle East Shipping & Transport Co LLC (MEST).

In either event, the brief was daunting. Neither Sohar Port then, nor Duqm Port last year, was operationally ready to receive shipments of any kind. In either location, the port infrastructure was barely complete, while the jetty superstructure was largely absent at the time. In the circumstances, the discharge of any cargo at the time was deemed risky. But as the cargoes were linked to strategic national projects, their timely delivery was also deemed imperative. “These were not run-of-the-mill transport or logistics jobs, but complex undertakings that required a radical approach, out-of-the-box thinking, and a collaborative effort by multiple agencies, companies and individuals. In both instances, MEST took the lead in overseeing the smooth discharge and safe delivery to site of the respective cargoes. In the process, we won the admiration of not only the clients in question, but the wider transport and logistics market,” said Mr. Kuruvilla Mathai, Business Unit Head. Last October, this ‘can-do’ spirit was recognized by the Port of Duqm with the conferment of a special award to MEST for successfully handling the maiden delivery of project cargo in the face of formidable odds earlier that year. The award was

formally presented to Mr. Mathai at a public event attended by government dignitaries and CEOs of companies representing the port user community. The award reinforces the standing of one of Oman’s foremost logistics solutions providers whose professionalism and service standards are the quintessential benchmark for the nation’s leading transport operators. A member of the prominent and well-diversified Suhail Bahwan Group, MEST is backed by over 25 years of expertise as a logistics and transport services provider. As a ‘total transportation systems’ company, MEST provides services in customs documentation, clearing & forwarding, shipping representation, landside transportation within Oman and other neighbouring GCC countries, and project cargo management. The company’s diverse portfolio of services includes material handling, barging operations, and warehousing and distribution. To help support its operations, the company has also invested in a modern fleet of over 100 trailers capable of moving all types of cargo across Oman and the Gulf. MEST has an enviable record of managing demanding specialist and time-critical logistics for a number of prestigious clients at the Port of Sohar. The company is credited with handling the logistics for nearly all of the port’s major industrial, petrochemical and energy investments, involving hundreds of thousands of freight registered tonnes (FRT) of project cargo. Key among these mega projects handled by MEST are

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Orpic’s Sohar Refinery (350,000 FRT) and aromatics plant (300,000 FRT), Sohar Aluminium smelter (500,000 FRT), Sohar International Urea & Chemical Industries (100,000 FRT), Sohar Power Company (120,000 FRT), as well as Oman Methanol, Oman Polypropylene and Jindal Shadeed Iron and Steel.

contractors have chosen MEST to manage their logistics tasks. They include firms such as Bechtel, Alstom, JGC, ChiyodaFoster Wheeler, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Enel Power, GS Engineering & Construction, Doosan Heavy Industries, Sony Ericsson, PDO, BP Exploration, Dodsal Engineering, Galfar, Al Hassan Engineering, Oman Oil, Weatherford, and so on.

Freight forwarding by air and sea is one of MEST’s fortes. In association with Panalpina, global leaders in freight forwarding, MEST has built an unmatched capability in the provision of onshore/offshore logistics covering various types of project cargo.

Significantly, more than half of all cargo volumes handled by MEST are on behalf of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the nation’s biggest oil and gas producer. A contract award from PDO is highly prized by logistics services providers because it represents the ultimate vote of confidence in the contractor’s ability to meet its delivery commitments.

Further, through its partnership with Abnormal Load Engineering (ALE), global specialists in heavy lift and overdimensioned cargo transportation, MEST has boosted its capabilities in this field. That capability was showcased when MEST handled the single biggest piece of project machinery – a 2,300-ton regenerator for Sohar Power – some years ago. Not surprisingly, some of Oman’s largest and most reputable oilfield, refining and petrochemical industries and engineering

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As the standard-bearer for health, safety and environment (HSE) norms, PDO applies very strict registration and prequalification criteria for transportation companies bidding for logistics contracts. Only contractors that meet PDO’s exacting prerequisites can compete for logistics contracts – a privilege granted only to the top tier of Oman’s transportation specialists, which includes MEST.


Going the distance Middle East Shipping & Transport Co LLC (MEST)

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t’s no coincidence that maiden cargo shipments arriving at Sohar Port, eight years ago, and Duqm Port in April 2012, were handled by the same transport firm: Middle East Shipping & Transport Co LLC (MEST).

In either event, the brief was daunting. Neither Sohar Port then, nor Duqm Port last year, was operationally ready to receive shipments of any kind. In either location, the port infrastructure was barely complete, while the jetty superstructure was largely absent at the time. In the circumstances, the discharge of any cargo at the time was deemed risky. But as the cargoes were linked to strategic national projects, their timely delivery was also deemed imperative. “These were not run-of-the-mill transport or logistics jobs, but complex undertakings that required a radical approach, out-of-the-box thinking, and a collaborative effort by multiple agencies, companies and individuals. In both instances, MEST took the lead in overseeing the smooth discharge and safe delivery to site of the respective cargoes. In the process, we won the admiration of not only the clients in question, but the wider transport and logistics market,” said Mr. Kuruvilla Mathai, Business Unit Head. Last October, this ‘can-do’ spirit was recognized by the Port of Duqm with the conferment of a special award to MEST for successfully handling the maiden delivery of project cargo in

the face of formidable odds earlier that year. The award was formally presented to Mr. Mathai at a public event attended by government dignitaries and CEOs of companies representing the port user community. The award reinforces the standing of one of Oman’s foremost logistics solutions providers whose professionalism and service standards are the quintessential benchmark for the nation’s leading transport operators. A member of the prominent and well-diversified Suhail Bahwan Group, MEST is backed by over 25 years of expertise as a logistics and transport services provider. As a ‘total transportation systems’ company, MEST provides services in customs documentation, clearing & forwarding, shipping representation, landside transportation within Oman and other neighbouring GCC countries, and project cargo management. The company’s diverse portfolio of services includes material handling, barging operations, and warehousing and distribution. To help support its operations, the company has also invested in a modern fleet of over 100 trailers capable of moving all types of cargo across Oman and the Gulf. MEST has an enviable record of managing demanding specialist and time-critical logistics for a number of prestigious clients at the Port of Sohar. The company is credited with handling the logistics for nearly all of the port’s major industrial, petrochemical and energy investments, involving hundreds of thousands of freight registered tonnes (FRT) of project

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Smart solutions, Green energy

Majan Electricity Company SAOC

reliability of network assets, in parallel with measures designed to enhance customer relations. Towards this end, Majan Electricity has embarked on a number of far-reaching steps in line with its strategy to transform the utility into a proactive, dynamic and professional organization. Key among these measures is a plan to invest around RO 108 million in the development of electricity distribution infrastructure across the company’s jurisdiction, covering the governorates of North Batinah, Dhahirah and Buraimi.

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lthough one of the smallest successor utilities that emerged from the historic restructuring of the electricity sector five years ago, Majan Electricity Company SAOG (MJEC) has gone further than others in its goal to become a world-class electricity distribution company.

It’s a testament to the vision and ambition of the man at the helm, Engineer Ahmed bin Saif Khamis al Mazrouy, General Manager, who has positioned the utility as a frontrunner in the field of innovation, sustainability, and customer care. “Majan Electricity’s vision is to emerge as one of the most reputable energy solutions providers in the Gulf region by the year 2020. The mission in hand is to ensure the delivery of safe, reliable and economical power to customers, and to maximize stakeholder value,” says Mr. Al Mazrouy. It’s a mission that the industry veteran does not take lightly, given Majan Electricity’s important role as the sole provider of electricity to Oman’s industrial powerhouse: the North Batinah Governorate housing Sohar Industrial Port, Sohar Industrial Estate, and Freezone Sohar. Together with tourism, infrastructure and commercial investment, this region has the makings of an economic dynamo that will drive the country’s long-term prosperity. Maintaining uninterrupted power supplies to this industrial and economic hub is of paramount importance, says Mr. Al Mazrouy. This overriding objective, he adds, can only be achieved through initiatives that seek to strengthen the integrity and

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“As part of our current three-year development strategy (2012 – 2014), Majan Electricity has an ambitious plan to invest RO 36 million annually with the aim of achieving a number of important objectives. They include initiatives for improving distribution networks and services, automating and undergrounding some networks, and enhancing governance – all of which seek to ensure that the distribution system is suitably managed to the customers’ satisfaction,” the General Manager said. According to the official, energy demand in Majan’s license area is well catered for by the availability of around 1,400 MW of generation capacity located within the Sohar Port complex. Major load centres within Majan’s jurisdictions are served by a 220KV double link each with a capacity to deliver more than 800 MW of power. Also readily available for use are 33KV and 11KV networks – infrastructure deemed adequate to meet the region’s electricity needs over the foreseeable future. Additionally, the utility is working with Sohar Free Zone LLC, which is operating a major special economic zone adjacent to the industrial port, in developing the requisite energy supply infrastructure for the scheme. “We are in the process of delivering 150 MW of capacity to Sohar Freezone for the benefit of a number of industries already in the construction stage. Also, we will continue to build the distribution infrastructure within the free zone in line with demand growth. Our goal is to deliver around 300 MW of capacity over the next four years,” the official said. Among the many initiatives being explored by Majan Electricity is the introduction of ‘Smart Grid Networks’ for the first time in Oman. Over RO 1 million will be spent in the rollout of smart grids – which have the ability to “heal” themselves within minutes in the event of a breakdown – in the industrial zones of North Batinah. Furthermore, to ensure that each of its roughly 150,000-strong family of industrial, commercial, government and residential


customers gets prompt attention to their service needs, the utility has put in place a Customer Relations Management Programme. The online service allows for customers to register their requirements at a Help Desk on the utility’s website.

before 11 am will circulate through the building, keeping it cool till the compressors come back online again at around 4pm at the end of the peak load period. We anticipate energy savings of 150 KW as a result.”

“Proper management of customer relations and network assets inevitably leads to an across-the-board improvement in network reliability and sustainability of supply. At the same time, we look to provide the right energy solutions to our diverse customers and thereby keep them satisfied,” the General Manager explains.

The ‘green’ building will be brought into operation in the first quarter of 2013, Mr. Al Mazrouy said, adding that three other satellite buildings of Majan Electricity will also feature similar ‘green energy’ solutions.

Part of Majan Electricity’s strategy to become a benchmark utility in the region is through its use of innovation to achieve its objectives. For example, the company is in the process of installing Energy Quality Meters designed to help major consumers detect anomalies in their electricity consumption that could potentially lead to breakdowns and failures unless rectified. These systems will also enable customers to monitor their electricity consumption, read meters remotely, and make payments through online channels.

Electricity demand in Majan Electricity’s jurisdiction has been growing by an average of eight per cent annually. Demand growth – averaging 12 per cent per year – is strongest in North Batinah Governorate, which is home to Sohar Industrial Port, Freezone Sohar and Sohar Industrial Estate.

Further, as a trailblazer in the field of energy conservation and ‘green’ energy practices, the company has drawn up plans to distribute an estimated 40,000 energy saving light bulbs to consumers this year. “Majan Electricity is a pioneer in the distribution of energy saving bulbs. We gave away 40,000 bulbs last year as part of our commitment to supporting energy conservation. This generated total savings of around RO 120,000 to our customers, and around RO 160,000 to the government (taking subsidy amounts into account). Savings in CO2 emissions amounted to nearly 200 tons annually,” the General Manager stated. The energy saving light bulbs campaign is part of a wider strategy by the company to promote green energy solutions within its license area. Some of these solutions will be showcased in its main office building currently under construction in Sohar. Proposed to be installed atop the building will be around 50 kilowatts (KW) of solar power capacity, with an option for another 50KW on top of the car park. “Our goal is to lead by example where green energy solutions are concerned,” he stresses. Much of the savings in energy consumption will come from a novel air-conditioning system that will be incorporated into this ‘green’ building, says Mr. Al Mazrouy. “The air-conditioning will be stopped from 11am to 3pm, which corresponds to the daily peak load period. Water chilled to near freezing conditions

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Luxurious retreat on Sohar’s doorstep Crowne Plaza Sohar

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ypical of the Intercontinental chain, the Crowne Plaza Sohar prides itself on its sophisticated appeal and modern amenities, along with a service that is keenly professional and friendly. It is this combination of luxury and personalized care that makes a stay here as refreshing as a stay in the Mediterranean. Not surprisingly, this delightful property, which is barely four years old, is the perennial first choice for guests visiting Sohar on business, for leisure, or simply for a holiday off the beaten track. Clients for the large part are out-of-town investors, government officials and corporate executives whose organizations are eager to be an integral part of Sohar’s phenomenal commercial success. But it has also attracted a fair share of high profile guests, including visiting royalty, heads of states and celebrities – proof of the property’s preeminent status in this fast-developing region of Oman.

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Set on an area of 20,000 sq metres, the five-star Crowne Plaza Sohar celebrated its grand launch in March 2009 after a yearlong soft opening that helped position the property as the definitive symbol of hospitality and luxury in this industrial hub. All 126 rooms, which include six luxury Executive Suites, are elegantly furnished in quiet, understated tones of fine fabrics. Amenities are modern and geared to both the leisurely and fast-track guest. Adding to the property’s appeal is its advantageous location within easy distance of all of Sohar’s principal industrial, commercial and infrastructure landmarks, notably Sohar Port, Freezone Sohar, Sohar Industrial Estate, and Sohar City. Equally importantly, the new Sohar Airport is under development virtually on the property’s doorstep, making it possible for customers to check into the region’s premier hotel within minutes of their arrival in the city.


The Crowne Plaza Sohar is the accommodation of choice for visiting dignitaries, corporate executives, and discriminating tourists alike – its diverse clientele drawn by its upscale appeal, friendly ambience, and an exciting menu of weekend entertainment.

Tranquil settings Everything about the property has been designed to make the customer’s stay at the property a delightful experience. The imposing façade, striking blend of modern and traditional architectural themes, and manicured gardens, exude a mix of sophistication and tranquility. Inside, the lobby area is upscale and expansive, centring abound a marble-lined atrium that soars four-stories to reveal a splendid dome. Dining and entertainment options at the property have been conceived keeping the corporate and leisure customer in mind. Crowne Plaza Sohar already enjoys a much-envied reputation as the city’s finest venue for an array of dining and beverage options. The all-day dining facility, modestly called ‘The Restaurant’, is in fact a major attraction for in-house guests and walk-in customers alike. Boasting an outdoor terrace overlooking the pool, the restaurant specializes in International and Continental Cuisine. Other public amenities include ‘The Mediterranean’, the only fine dining restaurant in Sohar, a bakery and café called ‘The Patisserie’ and two stylish bars; one of which is a Sports Bar featuring flat screen TV’s including a 103 inch Plasma screen as well as regular live entertainment. In addition the hotel boasts an Entertainment Centre with orginal size snooker and pool tables as well an original ten pin 4 lane Brunswick Bowling Alley. In keeping with Sohar City’s importance as an industrial and commercial hub, Crowne Plaza Sohar is ideally equipped and located to host all kinds of corporate events, including workshops, conferences, board meetings and so on. The 430 sq metre Sohar Ballroom, which features state-ofthe-art audio visual equipment, can seat up to 300 guests, while the Liwa and Shinas Boardrooms are d esigned for small, intimate groups. For larger events, t here is a 800sq metre outdoor lawn set around the swimming pool area.

Happening place Recreational facilities are also extensive and diverse. They include an impressive 25-metre temperature controlled swimming pool, kids’ pool, world class gym, massage rooms, and steam and sauna rooms. For more strenuous sporting activities, there are two floodlit tennis courts and a sandy pit volleyball court.

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For General Manager, Adel Aramouni, maintaining the property’s numero uno position in the region is an ongoing goal – a challenge he continues to meet through innovation coupled with the market insight of an industry veteran. By positioning the property as the city’s ‘most happening place’, he has succeeded in raising Crowne Plaza Sohar as the venue of choice for major corporate, entertainment and leisure events. A series of high-profile gigs held on the premises has also added to the property’s credentials. Looking back on the hotel’s overall performance, Palitha Perera, Director of Sales, says: “We have in the past year catered to visiting royalty and dignitaries, hosted several high-profile industrial inaugurations, conferences and banquets, and maintained our position as the number one choice for outdoor catering. On the dining, entertainment leisure fronts as well, our overall offerings are far more exciting. We have menu changes every six months, live entertainment at the Sports Bar, and attractive corporate health club memberships. Besides, the International Jazz Festival that we host every year is a signature event of Sohar’s social calendar. We also host corporate bowling tournaments. So, we’re very much the happening place of Sohar.” Strong investment inflows into Sohar continue to augur well for the hotel’s business, according to Palitha. “With Sohar’s ongoing development, the outlook for the hotel is very

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positive. Demand has increased for rooms, food and beverage, conference and banqueting, recreation memberships and outdoor catering. Also, occupancy rates and revenues have increased year on year.” Furthermore, the hotel’s proximity to Sohar’s industrial and commercial hotspots makes it ideal for new businesses to lease office space on the property. Two new meeting rooms have been added to the hotel in 2009, making it also attractive for the hosting of private business events. Now into the fifth year of successful operations, Crowne Plaza Sohar is preparing to embark on a major makeover that will ensure its continued dominance of the hospitality scene in the region, says Palitha. “The Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, the upscale brand of the InterContinental Hotels Group, is undergoing a re-positioning globally with new looks, colours, themes, bedding, and so on, to complement the fastest growing hotel brand in its class. The next 12 months will see this property freshen up as it joins 400 other Crowne Plaza Hotels worldwide re-positioning to become the best upscale hotel brand globally.” Crowne Plaza Sohar is owned by Samco Hotels and Resorts, a division of Samco Trading and Contracting LLC, Muscat and managed by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s largest and most prestigious hotel groups.


When visiting Sohar, make Crowne Plaza your port of call We will take care of all your business requirements With a fully-equipped business centre, courier services, private limo and high-speed Internet, we have the facilities you need to keep up-to-speed and work more efficiently.

To book call +968 26 850850, fax +968 26 850800 or email reservations@cpsohar.com

Terms and conditions apply

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ENJOY AN ESCAPE TO THE HAVEN OF SERENITY

Surrounded by the calm waters of the Gulf of Oman and in close proximity to historical attractions, archaeological sites and nature reserves, Sohar Beach Hotel offers leisure travelers 45 well-appointed guest rooms, plush suites and chalets, and a refreshing swimming pool surrounded by charming gardens. It is the ideal choice for families, couples and more mature travelers who enjoy peace and tranquility. The resort will feature additional 44 rooms and suites by beginning of 2013 with a Mediterranean restaurant, a spa operation and a banquet hall for 300 guests Sohar Beach hotel is a resort, located on the lush Batinah coast, 5 minutes from the Port of Sohar industrial area. Sohar was the Sultanate's ancient capital, the second largest city, after Muscat in Oman. It is the ideal choice for couples and more mature travelers who prefer peace and quiet environment.

P.O.Box 122, Al-Tareef, Postal Code: 321, Sohar, Sultanate of Oman Tel: +968 2684 1111 Fax: +968 2684 3766 E-mail: resvsbh@soharbeach.com Website: www.soharbeach.com


Enduring symbol of hospitality

S

ohar’s oldest hotel establishment continues to be a major draw for business and leisure visitors alike, drawn by its distinctive offering of old-world charm and modern amenities.

Few other hotels in Sohar can boast a natural setting as magnificent as that of Sohar Beach Hotel. Tucked away in a leafy suburb of the industrial hub on a whitesand beach overlooking the blue expanse of the Sea, this delightful property enjoys the most envied of locations on the Batinah coast. Adding to its appeal is its striking fort-like façade imbued with traditional architectural themes that recall Sohar’s vibrant history and maritime heritage. Indeed, Sohar Beach Hotel is as much a popular tourist establishment as a landmark in itself. It was the first major hotel to be set up by the government in the Batinah, serving as a symbol of the tradition of hospitality for which Sohar has been renowned in history. Today, it serves as a haven for those looking for the perfect getaway. Constructed in the style of a traditional Omani fort, Sohar Beach Hotel’s imposing exterior of buttresses and towers belies the cool elegant interior of marble, stained glass windows and beautiful décor. The property is spread over nine acres of landscaped gardens at Al Sallan, which is just a two-hour drive from Muscat or Dubai. Featuring 45 well-appointed guest

Sohar Beach Hotel

rooms, suites and chalets, this Omani resort is the ideal choice for families, couples and more mature travelers who enjoy peace and serenity. In recent years, however, this gracious and welcoming hotel has increasingly catered for the large numbers of investors, corporate clients and government dignitaries visiting Sohar on official business. Occupancy typically peaks during the winter season as tourists and holiday travelers add to the influx, according to Mr. Subhash Kurup, General Manager, Sohar Beach Hotel. “Over the last 3-4 years, we have noticed occupancy levels averaging 85 – 90 per cent during the peak winter season. These trends are undoubtedly linked to the massive industrial and infrastructure developments being witnessed along the coast, which have transformed Sohar from a traditional fishing town into an industrial hub. Although Sohar is a year-round destination for tourists, the inflow is relatively huge during the winters as families come visiting from Muscat and other regions to explore the wadis and the surrounding mountains which are a magnet for amateur mountain climbers as well. Besides, Sohar’s splendid, clean beaches are a major attraction for tourists,” said Mr. Kurup. A friendly and comfortable establishment whose welcoming ambience is matched by attractive accommodation, Sohar Beach Hotel attracts a diverse mix of international and local clients. The majority of

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its guestrooms are in the fortress-style building, which offers a superb combination of modern amenities and traditional charms. The large rooms combine old-fashioned spaciousness with such up to date features as individually controlled airconditioning, LCD screens with satellite TV, WiFi, mini-bar, and hairdryer. Sohar Beach Hotel’s chalet-style accommodation is a huge favourite with families who welcome the roomy ambience of the suites. For business visitors, the lounge area doubles as an office for meetings with local guests. Views of the swimming pool and hotel gardens, as well as the expansive ocean beyond, are added pluses. Accentuating the property’s appeal is its resort-style setting, complete with temperature-controlled swimming pool, landscaped garden and exclusive white-sand beach. For the fitness conscious, there is a tennis court and recreation centre, as well as the opportunity to pursue a range of beach-based sports and leisure activities. Sohar Beach Hotel’s extensive choice of food and beverage options is another of the resort’s fortes. Guests can enjoy a wide array of international cuisines alongside traditional Arabian specialties at Sallan Restaurant, a multi-cuisine diner with an open-air terrace overlooking the lush lawns and

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swimming pool area. Live entertainment and pubs are an added attraction. Importantly, the resort is also well-geared to cater to corporate guests and events. Its tranquil waterfront settings have made a much-sought-after venue for board meetings, product launches and all kinds of corporate celebrations. The Salalah Hall, suitably equipped with audiovisual equipment, is ideal for conferences, seminars, workshops and general meetings. Designed to accommodate up to 60 people theatrestyle, the hall can also be configured for meetings, forums, birthday parties and a host of other social occasions. For larger gatherings, including wedding events, private parties, the expansive lawns and poolside area are just ideal. With demand for its room and hospitality offerings on the rise, the resort has embarked on a major expansion that would result in a two-fold increase in room capacity, as well as the addition of a range of public amenities. A total of 45 rooms and suites are being added to the resort, alongside a new ballroom, restaurant, bar, fitness centre, and meeting rooms. “Our goal is to become the key leisure beach resort in Oman through the delivery of consistently world-class hospitality services that promise a unique leisure experience to our guests,” added Mr. Kurup.


Beacon to higher learning

S

ohar University’s transformation from a small regional college into one of Oman’s largest private universities is nothing short of spectacular. Starting life as the Sohar College of Applied Sciences in 1998, the university is today the principal provider of higher learning and tertiary academic programmes in the populous North and South Batinah governorates, helping support a key goal of the government to prepare young Omanis for the labour market.

As the first private university in Oman, SU blazed a new trail for private-led investment in the tertiary education sector. It paved the way for the successful roll-out of a number of new private led universities in the different regions of the country, thereby helping dramatically diminish the government’s role as the sole provider of higher education in the country. Starting out with a mere 19 enrollees in the year 2000, SU’s intake has burgeoned over the years to reach a current strength of around 3,000 students. This growth has been fuelled by two key factors: first, a strong commitment to high quality education, as reflected in its ongoing academic partnership with one of Australia’s top institutions, the University of Queensland; and second, an outstanding selection of Bachelor, Diploma and Advanced Diploma programmes in five broad streams: Business, Computing and Information Technology, Engineering, Arts and Law, and English Studies.

Sohar University

Not surprisingly, a quality audit of the University undertaken by the Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA) recently issued a positive assessment of the institution’s overall development and performance. The exercise was aimed primarily at comprehensively evaluating Sohar University and its key areas of activity. One of the main targets of the exercise was also to identify the University’s strengths and weaknesses and thereby create a proactive plan on how to sustain the enhancements and address any gaps. The panel indicated that Sohar University had done well in reaching its present stage of development. “Sohar University has developed a Mission and Vision appropriate for its current stage of growth and location. Further, there was a shared understanding of these amongst the internal and external stakeholders. The University has experienced considerable growth over a relatively short period of time which the Panel concluded has been well managed. In terms of governance and management, the Panel found that Sohar University’s strategic direction is supported by a committed and dedicated leadership,” the Authority stated. The panel noted in particular SU’s success in leveraging its collaboration with the University of Queensland (UQ) to develop research partnerships, with the result that a number of important successes have been achieved in winning

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competitive research grants. SU has put in place a number of policies that could lead to reaching its strategic goal of becoming a University recognized for research, it added. Additionally, the panel affirmed that all the institution’s initiatives effectively endorse what Sohar University is pursuing. The Oman Academic Accreditation Authority agreed that Sohar University needs to deliver postgraduate programmes in three broad fields of learning in line with its classification as a University and supports its efforts in this area. The University has been cited for its excellent relationships with local industry, aided in part by the presence in its vicinity of the Port of Sohar, where a number of mega-industrial schemes, operated by prominent multinationals, are based. This proximity to Oman’s biggest maritime gateway, as well as the industrial park of Sohar, has provided an ideal opportunity for cross-collaboration with industry giants. The University has since strengthened these links with industry through the appointment of a Director for Research and Industry Collaboration (DRIC). Importantly, these strategic alliances also augur well for SU’s ambition to emerge as a centre of excellence in academic research, an objective that received strong impetus in the wake of establishment of The Research Council of Oman by the Omani government. Spurred by the newly appointed DRIC, research activities took off in earnest and a definitive culture of research emerged within academic ranks at the University. An Industry Committee was established under the umbrella of the DRIC to advise on a range of issues relating to training,

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consultancy and research. Sohar University researchers submitted 12 research grants proposals to The Research Council in 2009, four which were approved. The Faculty of English Studies won funding for four research projects. The projects cover diverse areas such as veiling in Oman, the impact of articulatory training on Omani adult learners, perceptions of post-enrolment learning assessment, and linguistic auditing of road signs in Oman. Now, as it completes a decade of services as a highly rated tertiary academic institution, Sohar University is preparing to move to a modern, spacious and fully-equipped campus with a capacity to cater to around 8,000 students. The new campus, dubbed ‘Sohar University City’, is currently under development on a 16 hectares site near Sohar town, thanks in part to a generous grant from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. Development of the ambitious venture began in earnest in November 2009 when the University commissioned a leading firm to design and build the campus at a cost of OMR 20 million. To be implemented in three phases over several years, Sohar University City will serve as a formidable new monument dedicated to high quality tertiary education in the Sultanate. Sohar University was set up as a separate entity of Oman Education & Training Company in January 2009. The main activity of the company, which is an Omani Joint Stock Company incorporated in the Sultanate in November 1998, is to provide education services. The company owns and operates Sohar University, which is co-managed by the University of Queensland in Australia.


Project financier of the nation Oman Arab Bank

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PB Ad (Port of Sohar Magazine).pdf

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www.bankmuscat.com

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B

ank Muscat, the No. 1 bank in the Sultanate of Oman and ranked among the top 500 banks worldwide, enjoys an unrivalled position in Oman as well as the region, a clear recognition focusing on the global best practices pursued by the bank.

During the last 30 years since its inception in 1982, Bank Muscat has been closely involved in the progressive march of the nation. A keen perception of customer requirements has enabled the bank to develop innovative products and services in line with the current and emerging needs. The outlook for Oman’s economy is positive and in view of the government commitment to infrastructure development and industrialisation, Bank Muscat anticipates considerable growth opportunities in Sohar. The bank’s involvement in Sohar industrial port projects stems from its commitment to the government objectives to diversify the national economy in non-oil sectors, creation of employment opportunities for young educated Omani youth and expansion of industrialisation in the Sultanate. Strong customer relationship remains fundamental to the growth of corporate business. The bank maintains its emphasis in supporting feasible projects in core areas such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, large-scale industry, shipping and contracting. The bank successfully completed financing of Sohar Free Zone and a specialty steel project. The Sohar industrial port provides ample opportunities to the banking sector for expanding their business and also to contribute to the national economic growth. To utilise

this opportunity, Bank Muscat is involved with almost all projects, including Oman Gas Company, Oman Refinery and Petrochemicals, Sohar Power, Aromatics Oman, Sohar Aluminium, Oman Aluminium Rolling, Oiltanking Odfjell Terminals and GIPI Steel pipe project. Bank Muscat has been the lead arranger/underwriter of senior debt facilities as well as performance bond provider, onshore security agent, onshore account bank and working capital bank. Besides the major industrial projects, the bank has extended funded and non-funded facilities to ancillary industries. Customers in the port area are catered through a dedicated branch in Sohar. The bank played a key role in facilitating the credit facilities agreement for Sohar Port Special Projects. The transaction for setting up marine infrastructure for Vale’s biggest iron ore pellet plant outside Brazil was significant in the regional project finance market in general and Omani banking sector in particular. Among the Omani banks, Bank Muscat has the largest underwriting capacity and the strongest customer base. The Project Finance Team has the expertise and experience in arranging equity, advisory services, syndication and providing financing solutions to project owners and private investors. In addition, the bank caters to the needs of retail customers, small and medium enterprises, corporates and delivers tailored services and products through its relationship managers, branch network and other delivery channels. As the leading financial institution in Oman with assets worth over USD 18 billion, Bank Muscat accounts for over 38% market share of total banking assets and 34% market share of total banking credit in Oman. Bank Muscat enjoys the highest investment grade credit rating assigned to any Omani bank of A-, A1, A- and A from the four major rating agencies - Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Capital Intelligence respectively. Bank Muscat offers the complete range of innovative banking products and services to the largest banking family in Oman. The bank has an extensive network of 136 branches in Oman, as well as a direct and indirect presence in all six GCC states, including a branch in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as an office in Singapore which focuses on financial institutions and trade business. With a knowledgeable team in the country, Bank Muscat remains committed to providing a world class banking experience.

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Project financier of the nation

Oman Arab Bank

F

ew, if any, Omani banks can boast a reputation as distinguished as that of Oman Arab Bank (OAB) in the project finance arena. It’s a reputation that goes back to the early 1970s when Oman was a fledgling state eager to build the trappings of a nation to underpin its modernization and growth. OAB’s long-serving Chief Executive Officer and veteran banker, Abdul Kader Askalan, sums up the Bank’s pivotal role in financing the nation’s infrastructure development very early on in its modern ‘renaissance’. “When I drive around the capital city, Muscat, there’s hardly a major road, health facility, infrastructure or utility I come across that did not involve an injection of funding support from OAB. If there was a project of national or strategic significance, we were on board ready to pitch in with finance. We were there with funding support when Muscat’s Port Sultan Qaboos – one of the largest infrastructure projects of the time – was under construction. Our remit then was to serve as bankers to the nation – a credo that continues to form the core of our banking philosophy today,” Mr. Askalan said. Over the years, OAB’s project lending activities have burgeoned in line with the robust pace of development and modernization witnessed across the country. It has since built an unrivalled portfolio of projects that has benefited from debt finance extended by OAB. From modest service-based initiatives such as schools and hospitals, to big ticket energy and industrial ventures, OAB has been in the forefront as a project financier.

But it’s the Port of Sohar and its expanding community of high-profile tenants and investors that have found in Oman Arab Bank a champion of funding support. “Around 90 per cent of all the projects set up within the industrial port have been financially supported by us. This is in line with our commitment to playing a constructive role in the nation’s industrial and infrastructure development. Our lending activities are primarily focused on productive projects that contribute to employment generation, economic diversification, and enhanced revenue earnings for the government. Indeed, in OAB’s vision, project finance takes precedence over retail banking,” says Mr. Askalan.

Total lending solutions Demonstrating its support for strategic economic undertakings, OAB provided bridge financing for the initial infrastructure development of Freezone Sohar, a mammoth special economic zone taking shape adjacent to the industrial port.

“We see free zone developments as engines of economic growth and job creation. Consequently, any requests for finance from developers and investors will receive priority consideration – an approach that has also been applied in the ongoing development of the Salalah Free Zone,” said the CEO. Importantly, the beneficiaries of OAB’s lending activities are not limited to developers and investors, but also engineering contractors engaged in implementing infrastructure and industrial ventures. “Thus, while we offer financial support to investors and clients, we do not ignore the financial needs of contractors executing these projects. As a practice we establish branch facilities close to industrial hubs to cater to the requirements of local investors and contractors alike, and install ATMs as well for the convenience of their workers and other local staff.” Reflecting its commitment to meeting the financial needs of investors and contractors in Sohar, OAB already has three fullfledged branch offices in operation in this bustling industrial port city. Another office is proposed to be established in Freezone Sohar as soon as an initial number of industrial and logistics investments begin materializing on the ground. Not surprisingly, OAB is typically the first major bank to enjoy a presence in any emerging industrial zone. A case in point is distant Duqm where an ambitious industrial and maritime hub is under development. As the first bank to set up an office there, OAB’s services are being strongly patronized by local contractors and their workers.

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with IBM to upgrade and improve the Bank’s underlying infrastructure. The upgrade will enable increased responsiveness to its retail banking, corporate, investment, trade business, government and business banking customers. Highly advanced technology is a critical enabler in the banking industry, essential for competitive advantage and helping to drive differentiation, speed to market, and ability to capitalize on new opportunities, says Mr. Askalan.

“Wherever there is a major industrial site, OAB is never very far away. We have already opened an office in remote Tibat in Musandam Governorate where South Korean engineering giant Hyundai is constructing a major hydrocarbon processing plant for Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production LLC,” Mr. Askalan stated.

New era Significantly, the year 2013 is also set to herald a new and energetic phase of growth for OAB as it embarks upon a number of strategic initiatives designed to consolidate its position as one of the nation’s top-tier banks. The most notable by far is its decision to offload 25 per cent of its share capital for public subscription via an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the local bourse. Ominvest and Jordan-based Arab Bank, the two partners in OAB, will divest 290mn shares in the IPO at a nominal value of 100bz per share. The IPO is now planned during 2013. Earlier, in April 2012, the Bank announced that its RO 50 million maiden bond issue was oversubscribed by more 100 per cent – an outcome that pays testimony to the confidence of top pension funds and financial institutions in the Bank. The issued bonds will provide Tier II capital for the Bank. Furthermore, with the aim of enhancing business continuity and growing its customer share, OAB recently signed a deal

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Besides, with much of the Omani banking industry gearing up to roll out Islamic banking services in the Sultanate, OAB too is preparing to offer sharia-based banking and financial services. The Bank is confident of leveraging its longstanding association with Jordan-based Arab Bank, a 49 per cent equity partner in OAB, to provide a differentiated suite of sharia-compliant products and services to customers in Oman. Yet another landmark development that OAB is keenly looking forward to is its planned relocation to a more modern, spacious and strategically located head office at Bausher in the heart of the capital city. Described as an architectural masterpiece, the new multistory building has been designed to cater to OAB’s current and future requirements, and will help consolidate all of its departments in one convenient location. Ample car parking, which has been one shortcoming at the current premises in the CBD Area, will be a notable feature at the Bausher head office. The move, set for early 2013, will be historic for OAB. It will mark the end of an era for one of Oman’s oldest banking institutions which began life in the CBD Area as a branch of Arab Bank. “Our current head office in the CBD was the first building to be constructed after the old airstrip in Ruwi was decommissioned. So there are many memories and sentiments associated to this building. While we will continue to retain some departments in the CBD Area, the great majority of our roughly 1,000-strong workforce will relocate to our state-of-the-art, customercentric head office in Bausher,” Mr. Askalan added. Oman Arab Bank operates through a network of 59 offices and branches located throughout the Sultanate. The Bank also has a presence in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.


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Published by Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising for Sohar Industrial Port Company SAOC


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