A MAJOR strategic fuel storage facility will come into operation at Salalah Port, Oman, next year, reinforcing the port’s growing importance as a logistics hub on the Indian Ocean, an Oman Observer report said.
The multi-million dollar project, which will initially serve visiting naval ships and later be expanded to cater to merchant vessels as well, is being developed by Mina Petroleum, an energy services company that specialises in commodity trading and full-cycle logistics for delivery of petroleum products to remote regions and locations.
The Dubai-based group is investing around $75 million on the construction of the 230,000-cu-m storage depot in line with a contract award secured from the US government to supply fuel to its vessels calling at Salalah.
Construction work on the facility is well under way on a site adjoining the fuel depot owned and operated by Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic), a high-ranking company executive said.
“Mina Petroleum is currently constructing its new facility in the Port of Salalah,” said Graham O’Donoghue, group president and CEO, Mina Group.
“All of the required regulatory permits and licences, including environmental reviews, have been obtained. We have performed significant excavations on the land, which was rocky and initially unsuitable for tank foundations, and we have completed foundations for all nine tanks. Our fabricated steel is arriving this month for erection.
Mina and the Port of Salalah are collaborating closely to deliver the project within the required time frame, he added.
Project plans envisage the construction of nine large fuel storage tanks that are connected to the port’s new liquid jetty via a pipeline network and a series of pump stations. Mina will be the first of the port’s tenants to use the new liquid jetty. The Mina complex also includes an administrative building, maintenance workshop, and a fuel lab.
Salalah’s proximity to the Red Sea, as well as a number of important east-west shipping lanes, has made it ideally suited to host a strategic fuel storage depot of this kind.
“The key considerations were Salalah’s strategic location and Oman’s growing economy. The location is perfect for a fuel supply point that does not require vessels to enter the Arabian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz,” he said.
“Our project is a large capital investment in a facility that will have a 30- to 40-year life span in Salalah. Financed by Bank Muscat, the project also involves many Omani subcontractors and service providers, including legal services, hospitality, transport, housing, and telecom,” O’Donoghue pointed out.