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Oman’s oil & gas expertise set to drive clean energy transitions, says IEA

2 Dec 2023 By GULAM ALI KHAN

Muscat – Oman holds significant potential to channel its deep expertise in fossil fuel production towards clean energy projects that could expedite the country’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and diversify its economy, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report, titled ‘Leveraging Fossil Fuel Capabilities for Clean Energy Transitions: Assessment of Opportunities in Oman,’ was released last week at the IEA’s headquarters in Paris by IEA Chief Energy Economist Tim Gould and Oman’s Undersecretary for Energy and Minerals, Mohsin al Hadhrami.

According to the report, Oman, a major oil and gas producer, is well-positioned to utilise its vast infrastructure and skills in the sector to foster economic growth and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Currently, oil and gas account for approximately 60% of Oman’s export revenues, and domestic natural gas contributes over 95% to the country’s electricity generation.

The IEA report suggests that various components of Oman’s hydrocarbon supply chains could be redirected towards domestic clean energy industries and new clean energy partnerships, including low-emission fuels such as hydrogen.

The IEA’s unique analysis, based on surveys conducted with 16 stakeholders in Oman, ranging from international oil and gas players to local operators and service providers, indicates that Oman could set an example for other producer economies by leveraging its existing expertise for clean energy initiatives.

“By using its deep existing expertise to support clean energy initiatives, Oman could become a leading example for many other producer economies,” said IEA Chief Energy Economist Tim Gould.

The IEA noted that Oman has a unique opportunity to harness its expertise and productive capabilities in fossil fuels as a launchpad into the world of new energies and innovative energy partnerships. A strategy built on these advantages could help mitigate risks, attract necessary investment, and position Oman as a competitive frontrunner in new energy solutions.

‘This strategic shift could also enable the country to strategically weave clean energy supply chains into its economic fabric, capitalising on a spectrum of diversification opportunities spanning upstream, where local goods and services can fuel clean energy technology, midstream and downstream industries, where low-emission manufacturing thrives,’ IEA said.

Repurposing a wide spectrum of oil and gas infrastructure and skills is pivotal to this transformation, as stated by the IEA. ‘Oman can leverage its strengths in energy project design, chemical and thermodynamic engineering, and site preparation to construct a distinctive portfolio encompassing both fossil fuel and emerging energy sectors,’ the report said.

The IEA pointed out that key assets with high transversality potential include gas pipelines (suitable for hydrogen transport) and refinery and storage facilities, followed by reservoirs for carbon storage and associated infrastructure. However, it added that challenges remain, especially in adapting existing gas pipelines for hydrogen transport, requiring technical finesse.

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