Muscat: In a major push for the ambitious development programme of the Duqm free zone, 10 Chinese firms have signed land lease agreements for building various projects totalling an investment of $3.06 billion.
Read here: Agreements to develop Chinese industrial zone to be signed in Duqm
These projects, which are expected to change the face of Duqm as a major manufacturing and trans-shipment hub, range from a $2.3 billion methanol venture to $406 million-power project and a five-star hotel.
The firm’s investment commitments for a wide range of industries will create thousands of job opportunities for local Omanis and is considered as a major boost to the government’s efforts to attract much-needed foreign direct investment to prop up the economy.
The sub-usufruct pacts (or land lease agreements) were signed by Oman Wanfang, which was granted by the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (Sezad) with the usufruct on 1,172 hectares of land for developing the China-Oman Industrial Park, with Chinese investors.
Oman Wanfang, which is a consortium of six Chinese private firms, will develop, manage and attract direct foreign investment from China for building a host of light, medium and heavy industries and tourism projects.
Apart from signing the agreements, a ground-breaking ceremony for developing the China-Oman Industrial Park was also held under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Taimoor bin Asa’ad Al Said. Yahya bin Said Al Jabri, chairman of Sezad, Wang Heshan, deputy governor of Ningxia, a Chinese province, and more than 150 officials from both sides also attended the ground breaking ceremony.
“These investments are the result of good ties between the two countries and Oman Wanfang and the Duqm authority will invest $10b until 2022,” said Al Jabri.
Also read: $10b for Duqm shows a vote of confidence in Oman’s ‘stability’
Among the major projects, the methanol venture with a capacity to produce 10 million tonnes will be developed by Mingyuan Holdings Group Co. Ltd. The company will use natural gas supplied by the Oman government as feedstock for producing methanol.
Another major power project to generate 300 megawatt of electricity will be set up jointly by two Chinese firms—Hebei Electric Power Design and Research and Ningxia Electric Power Design Institute. The capital expenditure for the project, which will have two power units, is estimated at $406 million. Also, a five-star hotel, which will have a gross floor area of 50,000 square metres, is planned for Duqm by Ningxia Residence Construction Development (Group) Co. Ltd.
Similarly, Ningxia Zhongke Jiaye New Energy and Technology Management Company is planning to establish a 1GWp solar equipment manufacturing base with an estimated capital expenditure of $94 million, while Wuhan Xiao Long Auto-Tech Co. Ltd. plans to build a high-mobility SUV project with an estimated investment of $84 million. Also, Ningxia Water Investment Group Co. Ltd. signed a land lease agreement to build a desalination project with an investment of $81 million. Ningxia Ningqiao Commercial Investment and Operation Ltd. signed an agreement to build a building material manufacturing and trading facility with an investment of $46 million. Another Chinese firm also signed an agreement to build a $10 million-unit to manufacture non-metal composite pipes for oil industry.
Lee Chee Khian, chief executive officer of the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm, said the design work for the China Oman Industrial Zone has already been completed.
Considered as the biggest investment in Duqm, the China-Oman Industrial Park is one of the leading overseas industrial parks promoted by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce in China.