The Ministry of Energy and Minerals in Oman has signed an agreement with British energy major bp to progress a potential multiple gigawatt renewable energy and green hydrogen development by 2030.
The deal will see bp capture and evaluate solar and wind data from 8,000km2 of land. The data will in turn support the Omani Government in approving the future developments of renewable energy hubs at most suitable locations.
The renewable energy resources within this area could also be harnessed for the development of green hydrogen projects, targeting both domestic and global export markets.
Mohammed Al Rumhy, Oman’s minister of energy and minerals, said the partnership is a significant step towards delivering the country’s 2040 Vision, which includes an ambition to increase the penetration of renewables up to 39%, with an interim goal of 20% by 2030.
“Today’s agreement signals the next step in our energy journey – unlocking the potential for Oman as a low-carbon energy hub,” he said.
Under the new partnership, bp and Oman will also consider ways to collaborate in areas such as a renewables strategy, regulation, the establishment of a renewable energy hub, and the development and reskilling of the local workforce.
“These projects will build on our gas business, and bring wind, solar and green hydrogen together in a distinctive and integrated way supporting Oman’s low carbon energy goals,” said bp CEO Bernard Looney.
The partnership represents a significant evolution of bp’s business in Oman, where it operates Block 61, which produces a third of the country’s gas demand. Last year, bp showed its eagerness to take early positions in the Omani hydrogen sector, joining the country’s national hydrogen alliance, Hy-Fly, and establishing a net-zero task force to help develop a “roadmap” for bp in Oman.
But bp is not the only interested party in Oman’s green hydrogen potential. Last year, Munich-headquartered management consultancy Roland Berger wrote that Oman is one of the most competitive locations globally to produce and export green hydrogen and derivatives. With that said, there has been a long list of massive projects announced in the country in recent years.
An international consortium led by Omani oil company OQ unveiled plans last year for a green hydrogen facility to be powered by 25GW of solar and wind. In the works since 2019, the plan envisages the production of “millions of tons” of green hydrogen, which could be consumed on-site, exported, or converted into green ammonia for international export.
Last year, Indian solar developer Acme Group signed a land agreement to set up a US$3.5 billion renewables-powered green hydrogen and green ammonia facility in Oman. Slated to become operational in 2022, the integrated facility will be powered by 3GWp of solar and 500MWp of wind energy to produce 900,000 tons of green hydrogen annually.
Another high-profile project is Hyport Duqm – a partnership between OQ, Germany’s Uniper, and Belgium’s DEME – which aims to build a green hydrogen and ammonia facility at Duqm, powered by 1.3GW of renewable energy.
Further, the 400MW SalalaH2 green hydrogen and ammonia project was announced in October for the coastal city of Salalah by co-developers OQ, industrial gases company Linde and the Dubai Transport Company, powered by about 1GW of wind and solar.
A year before, Oman's Sohar Port and Freezone, a deep-sea port and adjacent free zone located in the homonymous coastal city, announced a plan to host a large-scale green hydrogen generation hub powered by solar power plants. This plan envisages the deployment of around 3.5 GW of PV capacity, which is equivalent to the port's total electricity consumption.
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I tried without success to interest the Omanis in looking into pumped hydro. Given the arid climate, this would have to be with seawater. This technlogy was pioneered by he Japanese in a small but functional PUHS plant in Okinawa, now shut down on economic, not technical, grounds.. Oman has plenty of quite high mountains near the sea.
Wonder where all the fresh water will come from to produce the H2? De-sal I suppose, but that will impact on H2s LCOH. Interesting that one of the fossil laggards – BP – is finnaly doing something in the area of RES. They could of course have done this… 5? 10 years ago.
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