Duqm has the potential to become an export hub for oil and there are advantages in sending oil directly from Saudi Arabia to the Omani port by pipeline, said Shell Country Chairman Chris Breeze.
On the business opportunities he saw with work in progress on the $400-million Ras Al Markaz crude storage park near Duqm, he said: “If you are talking pipelines and shipping oil, you should consider the scope for Duqm being an export hub for Saudi oil, which then would not have to go through the Strait of Hormuz and would not have to go by the Arabian Gulf, but directly by pipeline across to Duqm and it could become a major export hub for Saudi oil”.
Shell looks at “all opportunities in a keen way and where we can develop business with our Omani partners we certainly do that,” he told Oman Tribune during a recent event where Shell Intilaaqah and Riyada announced new programmes for SMEs.
The Ras Al Markaz storage facility will ensure availability of crude to the nearby 230,000bpd Duqm refinery when it becomes operational and could encourage the setting up of other refineries in the Sultanate and the region when it expands. With the facility of storage, companies that operate both downstream and upstream will have the option of buying crude when it is priced low, storing it and then selling it or its refined products when prices are higher. HE Dr Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Rumhy Minister of Oil and Gas minister has already announced that international companies had shown their interest in the project.
Ras Al Markaz will have an initial capacity of up to 10 million barrels that could be raised to 200 million barrels. Expansion will continue with demand and the ambition is to become one of the largest oil storage hubs in the world.