Muscat: In a significant effort to tap into the Sultanate’s renewable energy potential, Sohar Port and Freezone recently entered into a land lease agreement with Shell Development Oman (SDO).
This agreement means that businesses in the Sohar Freezone could be powered by solar photovoltaic (PV) projects instead of gas.
On April 18, 2019, Laetitia van Asch, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Sultanate of Oman hosted a ceremony to officiate this collaboration at the Crowne Plaza OCEC in Muscat.
Commenting on the importance of the upcoming collaboration, Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of Sohar Port and Freezone said, “Sustainability is one of our key values in driving development at Sohar Freezone and this partnership with Shell will create solar powered solutions that are the first-of-its-kind in the country."
"This also marks an incredible milestone and the first step in our proactive long-term programme, that we have already begun implementing, to transform our 4,500-hectare development into a ‘green Freezone’. We hope that the changes we are implementing today will encourage current clients and future investors to adopt cleaner technologies and sustainable practices tomorrow,” he added.
In line with the partnership, Sohar Freezone will allocate 600-hectares of land for solar plants under development, with capacities ranging from 10MW up to 40MV. The pioneering project of 25MW will be focused on providing dedicated supply to Al Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome, and the entire development will create long lasting economic value for the nation and the companies within the Freezone.
Chris Breeze, Shell Oman Country Chairman said, “Shaping a more sustainable energy future for Oman is everybody’s responsibility. It requires us to work towards reducing emissions, tackling climate change, and ultimately changing the way energy is produced and efficiently consumed. Shell is proud to be involved in Oman’s energy transition."
"These solar PV projects will free up natural gas resources for better economic use, support the green agenda of the Sohar freezone, and enable further economic development in Sohar, by unlocking large scale solar opportunities,” he added.
Brian Davis, global Vice President of Energy Solutions in Shell New Energies noted, “We are proud to have brought our global experience to Oman to enable these first of a kind, distributed generation projects for commercial customers in Oman. We will keep listening to our customers to provide a cleaner and competitive solution to their energy needs whilst also seeking ways to support the growth in local renewables capabilities.”
Anindya Das, CFO of Al Tamman Indsil stated, “We have a robust relationship with SOHAR Port and Freezone, especially with our recent facility expansion this year. The creation of the new solar plant will further reinforce our commitment towards utilising eco-friendly methods to carry out all our activities. We look forward to be a part of similar innovative solutions in the future that will benefit not only Sohar Freezone and the surrounding community, but the Sultanate as a whole.”
The Ambassador stated, “I am proud of this collaboration between Sohar Port and Freezone, Shell and and ATIFC in Oman. It is an excellent example of how Dutch borne sustainable and innovative solutions in renewable energy and logistics is able to contribute simultaneously to turning the economic diversification and its energy transition in the Sultanate of Oman into a success.”
The Ambassador added, “Bilateral relations between Oman and the Netherlands have been fruitful for many centuries and are cemented at the highest levels. We believe that there is a vast potential for further developing our excellent cooperation, by jointly looking for smart, innovative solutions on the nexus of water, energy and food, and in tandem with our strong cooperation in logistics."
"The cooperation in Oman between Sohar Port and Freezone, Shell and ATIFC is an excellent example. I look forward to many more examples, leading to Oman and the Netherlands join forces towards sustainable development in Oman and beyond," he added.
"To further assist in making full use of the sustainable synergies between water efficiency, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and food security, we will present a report on the opportunities in these areas in Oman, during the Oman Energy and Water Conference and Exhibition on Monday April 22, 2019,” he said.