17 October 2023

Landmark green transformation event set to spur major investment, create opportunity for SMEs

The First Duqm Economic Forum, an impactful gathering of investors, industrialists, decision-makers and entrepreneurs, concluded on Wednesday. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham Al Said and organized by the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones & Free Zones (OPAZ), this nationally important event showcased how the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD), one of the main drivers of the economy of the Sultanate of Oman, is leading change in renewables, green manufacturing, global trade flows and the wealth of opportunities this is generating for investors and entrepreneurs along the value chain.

Attracting over 400 participants, the highly-suucessful two-day Forum was sponsored by 17 leading domestic and international organizations.

Speaking at the closing ceremony for the landmark event, His Excellency Eng. Ahmed Al Dheeb, OPAZ Deputy Chairman expressed his thanks to His Highness Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham for his invaluable support of the event, noting: “This First Duqm Economic Forum has been a significant platform for sharing the game-changing potential of SEZAD as it brings to life the ambitions of Oman Vision 2040, the dynamic strategy for development and growth that underpins the renewed Renaissance we are experiencing under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik.”

His Excellency Eng. Al Dheeb added: “Utilizing solar and wind-generated green energy, Duqm is adding new dimensions to Oman’s competitive offer and creating exciting possibilities for free zones and industrial cities across the country. I am confident that as a result of this Forum, we will see new major partnerships formed, ventures initiated and significant investments in Oman’s economy. Indeed, with the establishment of world-leading green industry here on SEZAD, we are already seeing the growth of other businesses along the value chain, generating quality long-term jobs for our young people and prosperity for our communities.”

With a strong focus on investment and the green transition, the Forum provided insights into the vast potential of Oman’s green hydrogen industry, its role in the decarbonization of heavy industry and how Duqm will help Oman fulfill its commitment to Co2 neutrality by 2050.

Expert panels also discussed Oman’s position as a future renewable superpower and the role Duqm is already playing in positioning Oman as a world-scale producer and exporter of zero-carbon fuels to international markets. Particular focus was given to the development of a large-scale green steel industry cluster in Duqm and the downstream opportunities this will create in the automotive industry, the manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines and more.

The Forum also looked into emerging roles for the petrochemicals industry including the manufacture of many of the parts required for today’s modern renewable energy system, including solar panels, wind turbines, thermal insulation and electric vehicles.  A further key theme was the evolution of Duqm as a multi-purpose economic, commercial and industrial epi-centre, as a major hub for global trade flows and the distribution of new energy.

Of significant interest to attendees were discussions on the wealth of possibilities offered by the Duqm Refinery project and the Markaz Crude Oil Storage Terminal - the largest oil storage and export project in the Middle East – as the petrochemicals industry moves forward with its new business models. This was followed by a visit to the state-of-the-art facilities themselves and a tour of key areas of interest on SEZAD.

The two Duqm Dialogues with Haider Al Zaabi, Co-founder, Mays EV and Eng. Bahiya Al Shuaibi, Founder & CEO, Global Space & Technology Company shone the spotlight on the innovative spirit and inspirational ambition of Oman’s young entrepreneurs. Their world-class projects, and other emerging enterprises like them, are considered cornerstones of Oman’s economy in the years to come and drivers of exciting new opportunities along the value chain.

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