Sohar Port and Freezone (SOHAR) has become the first Middle Eastern port to join SEA/LNG, the global coalition that seeks to develop and promote the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the maritime industry.
In a statement, SEA/LNG said SOHAR had joined specifically to promote its investment in LNG bunkering facilities and the use of LNG as a marine fuel.
In particular, SOHAR will use the coalition to focus on its major LNG bunkering project. 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 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.”
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.