08 April, 2017
Source: Oman Daily Observer
Investors from China are weighing plans to develop a pair of methanol projects in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Duqm – a move set to reinforce Duqm’s emerging appeal as a potential global hub for petrochemicals.
The proposed methanol schemes, implementation of which hinge on the availability of natural gas as feedstock, also have the potential to spawn the growth of downstream petrochemical businesses in Oman.
Chee Khian Lee, CEO of the SEZ Authority at Duqm (SEZAD) said the ventures are being mooted by two separate groups of Chinese investors. “Both are trying to first secure gas supply before they can decide on the next steps. Both are also looking at alternative feedstock supplies besides piped gas, including condensate and liquefied natural gas (LNG),” he pointed out.
One of the two proposed methanol plants, said Lee, is backed by a Chinese group which has a subsidiary in neighbouring United Arab Emirates (UAE). The other is mooted by investors based in the northeastern part of China where they source their feedstock requirements from Russia.
“They want to come to Duqm because their goal is to supply methanol to central Asia and the western part of China utilizing the shorter route via the Pakistani port at Gwadar to access these markets,” the CEO noted.
Oman already hosts two major methanol schemes – a privately owned plant in Sohar Industrial Port, and a wholly government owned project in Salalah Free Zone.