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Oman Shell weighs plan for solar power project at Khazaen

Oman Shell, the local subsidiary of global energy major Shell, is studying options for the establishment of a solar power project to supply renewable energy to Khazaen Economic City’s expanding portfolio of manufacturing, logistics and other commercial tenants.

An agreement to this effect was signed last year, according to Salim al Thuhli, CEO of Khazaen Economic City (KEC). “We (..) signed an NDA in 2022 with Oman Shell to explore opportunities to establish a solar plant in the city that will provide clean energy to investors,” Al Thuhli stated in a recent interview to The Energy Year, the well-known London-based energy news portal.

Set on an area of over 52 million square metres at Barka in South Al Batinah Governorate, Khazaen is the first integrated economic city of its kind in the Sultanate of Oman. Investments to date total around OMR 316 Million and are distributed across the food, pharmaceuticals, warehousing and logistics, light manufacturing and other sectors.

“We are strongly encouraging any projects that entail renewable energy developments within KEC, particularly from SMEs,” said Al Thuhli in the interview. The City is already home to the world’s first solar-powered biodiesel plant set up by Omani startup Wakud, he added.

A number of other green energy initiatives are also in the pipeline for development in the City, according to the official. It includes a project for the recycling of used car oils, while another is focused on the sustainable design of Khazaen itself, he said. “In fact, what we think of when talking about sustainability is not just the installation of PV modules. We think of developing an environmentally friendly area right down to the city’s design,” he said. “We’re studying solutions that allow mobility in the most efficient and least polluting ways by considering, for instance, the positioning of the various industrial clusters and how to connect them and its workers with transportation services within the city and the labour village,” the CEO added.

Oman Shell has already established a presence in Oman’s renewable energy and green fuels space. Two years ago, local subsidiary Sohar Solar Qabas launched a 25MW solar photovoltaic plant at Sohar Freezone to meet the energy needs of a ferrochrome smelter operating nearby.

Oman Shell and its affiliates are also investing in, among other areas, the production of green hydrogen, renewable synthetic LNG, green ammonia and other zero-carbon fuels. Other initiatives supported by the company include the introduction of solar PV for a number of Omani schools, the roll-out of hydrogen-powered vehicles for Oman Airports, and the development of EV charging infrastructure.

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