MUSCAT -- Sohar Port plans to shortly embark on a major reclamation scheme that will help create additional land for investment and development at the industrial hub. Dubbed the Majees Reclamation Project, the initiative will create around 130 hectares of prime waterfront earmarked for, among other potential investors, a petrochemical venture as well as additional tank farm capacity planned by an existing tenant.
More importantly, the scheme will go some way in alleviating the growing demand for land within the industrial port area, almost all 2,000 hectares of which have already been leased or committed to industrial tenants or service providers. According to a senior executive of Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC), the reclamation will be undertaken just outside the Southern Breakwater adjoining the tankage terminal of Oiltanking Odfjell Oman Terminals LLC.
"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 will partly address this issue through the creation of around 130 hectares of additional land," Edwin Lammers, Executive Commercial Manager, said.
"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," he added.
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 official stated.
Part of the reclaimed land will be earmarked for Oiltanking Odfjell, which specialises in the bulk handling and storage of clean petroleum products, chemicals and gases. Since its launch in 2008, the company has seen the capacity of its tank terminal grow by leaps and bounds. 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. Last July, 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 expand," said Lammers, adding that a new Liquid Terminal planned by the port will also enable Oiltanking-Odfjell to cater for the terminaling requirements of a major Bitumen Refinery due to come up at Sohar Port. 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.
Yet another investor to benefit from the land reclamation scheme is the joint venture of Oman Oil Company (OOC) and LG International, which recently signed a deal to build a Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) and Poly Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) project at the port. Estimated to cost $850 million, the petrochemical venture will boast a capacity of 1.1 million tonnes of PTA and 500,000 tonnes of PET per annum. The plant is slated to come into operation towards the end of 2016. Depending upon investor demand, further additional land could be reclaimed as part of the Majees project, it is learnt.
© Oman Daily Observer 2013
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