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China plans mega projects, including refinery, in Duqm

A land lease agreement was signed between Oman and China to establish a major industrial park in Duqm, which will attract a series of mega investments that include an oil refinery with a refining capacity of about 230,000 barrels per day.

The construction of oil refinery subject to receipt of necessary permits and approvals by the competent authorities in the Sultanate.

Relationship between Sultanate and China, Oman’s policies and the strategic location of Duqm port attracted China to invest in Oman, said Ali Shah, general manager of China-Arab Wanfang Investment Management Company Ltd, on the sidelines of a signing ceremony.

“Chinese investors need a (industrial) park in Oman to cover the markets of South Asia, West Asia, Middle East and Africa with rich resource, good geographical location and flexible policy,” Ali Shah added.

“Different investors from China are coming to Oman under the umbrella of one company,” he added.

The proposed industrial park in Duqm is expected to attract as much as $10 billion worth in investments by 2022.

Agreement was signed by Ali Shah on behalf of China and Yahya bin Said bin Abdullah Al Jabri, chairman of the Special Economic Zone Authority in Duqm (Sezad).

According to Ali Shah, the project that spreads over a huge area of 11.72 square kilometres is divided into three main categories - heavy industrial area, light industrial area and mixed-use area (including a hotel).

“The project will be completed in three different phases and the first phase is expected to ready in five years,” Ali Shah asserted.

The whole project is expected to be ready within ten years.

The first area of about 870 hectares will be allocated for heavy industries.

According to him, Wanfang will allocate this land under sub-usufruct conventions to other Chinese investors and companies.

“Wanfang will be responsible for operation and maintenance of infrastructure on site unless applicable systems in the Sultanate require,” added Ali Shah.

The second category will be an area of about indivisible 10 hectares allocated to the implementation of a tourism project.

“We are planning to build a Chinese-style hotel, which will have an investment of $150 million and it is expected to generate more than 200 job opportunities,” Ali Shah said.

The third category will be on an area of 292 hectares allocated for the establishment of an oil refinery and petrochemical industries’ complex. The capacity of the refinery will be about 230,000 barrels per day.

According to Ali Shah, the entire project offers 12,000 job opportunities and 10 per cent of which will be allotted to the Omani nationals.

“We (would) like to increase the percentage of Omani workforce in the future,” he added.

He also said that $100 million will be invested to build a hospital, which will have 500 beds and provide medical treatment to people within the locality, regardless of nationalities.

Ali Shah also said that they will invest $15 million to build a school for the park residents, including Chinese, Omanis and other nationalities.

He also confirmed that around 1,500 jobs will be provided to Omanis and approximate 1,000 Omanis will get degree education for vocational training in China.

“We agreed to give the land to China and they will build the entire infrastructure for the park. So, this will reduce the burden on us to build the infrastructure,” Al Jabri said.

Al Jabri stated that the signing of the agreement reflects the position reached by the Sultanate and its ability to attract investments.

“This also reflects the investment environment in the country and global interest enjoyed by the Sultanate under the patronage of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos,” he added.

According to Al Jabri, Chinese investments are a great addition to the current investment in Duqm.

“SEZAD’s efforts made during the past years have attracted investments from the GCC, Asia, and Europe. We hope that diversity would contribute to attract Omani experience specialised in many areas related to ports, petrochemical industries, fishery industries, tourism, trade and other areas,” he added.

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