New facility is expected to be fully operational in 2023 and will reduce Oman’s dependence on bitumen imports
The construction of Oman’s first bitumen refinery is expected to get underway following the signing of a deal between Sohar Asphalt and China Chemical Hualu Engineering Company (CCHEC). The facility will be built at Sohar Industrial Port at an investment that exceed $400 million.
An engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) contract was signed by the two companies in a virtual setting late last week, said a report from the Oman Observer.
A 27ha site has been designated for the project adjoining the Sohar Refinery of OQ at Sohar Port. Heavy crude as raw material for the bitumen refinery will be sourced from several international producers, the report said.
The feedstock is expected to be will be shipped by crude carriers to the Port of Sohar and stored at the Liquid Terminal operated by Oiltanking Odfjell Tank Terminal. Dedicated storage facilities will also be constructed at the site of the bitumen refinery, the report explained.
Annual production of the facility is estimated to be one million tonnes of bitumen and 600,000 tonnes of naphtha, straight-run distillates and vacuum gas oil.
The project’s strategic national significance is said to lie in the fact that when fully operational by 2023, it will help alleviate Oman’s longstanding dependence on bitumen imports for road paving and related applications. The project’s output of straight-run bitumen, which is primarily used in road paving, is expected to be exported to several markets in the Gulf and the Indian-continent, the report noted.