Today SEA-LNG welcomes SOHAR Port and Freezone as its first Middle Eastern port member. SOHAR joins SEA-LNG to promote its investment in LNG bunkering facilities and the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel. SEA-LNG is the leading multi-sector industry coalition, created to accelerate the widespread adoption of LNG. MARSA LNG, a venture comprised of TOTAL S.A. and OQ, is developing a state of the art LNG liquefaction plant and bunkering facility in SOHAR Port.
Highlighting the importance of the upcoming project, Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of SOHAR Port said; “This major LNG Bunkering project will generate in-country value and job opportunities, and will support industry diversification efforts by promoting shipping activities in Oman. The establishment of this facility will make SOHAR one of the key LNG bunkering facilities on the main shipping trade routes, alongside other strategic ports, many of whom are already SEA-LNG Members, such as the Port of Singapore. MARSA LNG will supply LNG sourced locally in the Sultanate.”
The project will see the provision of LNG to the shipping lines calling at SOHAR Port. The switch from traditional marine fuel oils to LNG has accelerated following the implementation of new sulphur emission limits by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in January 2020 and the IMO greenhouse gas emission targets set for 2030 and 2050.
Peter Keller, Chairman of SEA-LNG said; “We are excited to welcome SOHAR to the SEA-LNG coalition. SOHAR is our first Member from the Sultanate of Oman and will provide an attractive global offering once the marine bunkering project is completed. From our perspective, this is an opportune time to develop LNG capabilities in Oman given the expansive growth of marine activity within the region. We welcome SOHAR to our cause of furthering the use of LNG as an important, environmentally superior maritime fuel.”
Due to its unique location outside the Strait of Hormuz and mid-way between Europe and Asia, SOHAR is ideally positioned to become a major LNG bunkering hub in the Middle East. In addition, SOHAR Port and Freezone feature deep-water drafts capable of handling the largest vessels in the world. The liquefaction plant and bunkering project will be able to offer attractive business conditions, further enhanced by access to a dedicated logistics chain as well as large domestic gas reserves.
Peter Keller continues: “As well as providing a means to comply with recently enforced sulphur limitations, LNG provides a clear pathway for the shipping industry to decarbonise through the introduction of biomethane and synthetic methane. Now is the time to move forward with LNG as an important maritime fuel. Inaction is not a plan and we cannot afford to wait decades for solutions that may never be realised. Investing in LNG capable vessels now provides the shipping industry with a pathway to a low carbon future as well as significant and immediate environmental and health benefits.”