MUSCAT: Hydrom, the wholly government-owned company tasked with overseeing the delivery of Oman’s green hydrogen strategy, has announced a month-long extension of the deadline for submission of bids for an initial pair of land blocks earmarked for mega-scale green energy investments.

The land blocks, each covering an area of around 320 sq kilometres and located in Duqm in Al Wusta Governorate, are being auctioned as part of Round 1 of Phase A of Hydrom’s multi-year auction programme.

Final offers are now due in by March 15, 2023 (as opposed to the previous deadline of February 15, 2023) for this keenly anticipated maiden round first unveiled by the government last October.

“As part of Oman Green Hydrogen Auction process, Hydrom is announcing that the bid submission deadline for Phase A Round 1 has been extended by one month. Bidders are now expected to submit their proposals by 15th of March 2023,” the company announced on its online auction platform.

International investor interest in Oman’s green hydrogen programme has been strong, with as many as 180 parties having registered their particulars on Hydrom’s platform as of mid-January 2023.

Of this number, more than 50 companies had collected a Request for Qualifications (RfQ) document, affirming their intent to participate in the auction process. An unspecific number have also since passed the qualification stage and are now actively working to put together their final offers – a response Hydrom has characterized as “encouraging and in line with initial expectations”.

Awards for the Round 1 blocks are anticipated by the end of April 2023, effectively paving the way for the groundwork to start in earnest on Oman’s first-ever commercial scale green hydrogen projects.

The winning consortiums are expected to develop integrated projects covering the full green hydrogen value chain, encompassing solar and wind farms (upstream), production of green hydrogen through electrolysis (midstream) and a green energy end-product comprising either hydrogen, ammonia or derivative for domestic consumption or export.

A second bid round targeting the auction of up to four additional land blocks, located in Thamrait (Dhofar Governorate), gets underway immediately after the award of the first round.

These additional blocks are slated to be awarded before the end of 2023 with the goal of enabling the aggregate national production of at least 1 million tonnes per annum of green hydrogen annually starting from 2030.

This targeted output, will necessitate investments to tune of around $30 billion primarily in installing around 20 gigawatts of renewable capacity and 10 gigawatts of electrolyzer capacity by 2030.

A subsidiary of Energy Development Oman (EDO), Hydrom’s mandate includes the delineation of government-owned land areas and the structuring of associated large-scale world-class green hydrogen projects, managing the process for their allocation to developers as well as facilitating the development of common infrastructure and connected ecosystems in industries and hubs in close collaboration with the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ).

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