SALALAH ó The RO68 million Salalah gas pipeline was inaugurated at Raysut Industrial Estate yesterday.
The inaugural ceremony was held under the auspices of Sheikh Mohammed bin Ali Al Qatabi, minister of state and governor of Dhofar. Present were Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Romhi, minister of oil and gas; and Sheikh Suhail bin Mustahil Shimas, minister of housing, electricity and water.
Khalifa Al Hinai, adviser to the minister of oil and gas and board chairman of Oman Gas Company (OGC), said in an address at the opening of the gas pipeline project, which coincided with the celebrations of 33rd anniversary of National Day, that it would hugely benefit the economy of the Sultanateís southern region in particular. He said the pipeline would help expand industrialisation and create new jobs.
Suleiman Al Balushi, OGC acting executive president, said the project was part of the companyís expansion plans in implementation of royal directives to diversify sources of national income.
He said OGC had signed a five-year contract with a Canadian energy services company to undertake operation and maintenance of gas transporting facilities and prepare various technical systems and procedures.
The chief guest unveiled the project plaque. At the end of the ceremony, he was presented with a commemorative gift by the minister of oil and gas.
The ceremony was attended by members of the Council of State and Majlis Al Shura, walis, advisers, senior officials at the Ministry of Oil and Gas, government and private sectors representatives, sheikhs and dignitaries.
Al Qatabi said the gas pipeline was among the major projects implemented in the governorate during the reign of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and added it would benefit the local economy.
He thanked the Ministry of Oil and Gas and the OGO for the effort and congratulated the sons of the governorate over the implementation of the project.
Romhi said the Salalah gas pipeline was the start of a gas network the government planned to implement throughout the Sultanate for economic and environmental reasons. The minister explained gas provides cheaper source of energy in the regions and is friendly to the environment.
The 700km Salalah gas pipeline, which is 24 in diameter, has a capacity to produce 4 million cubic metres per day. It will provide necessary energy for power plants in Dhofar governorate, industrial facilities in Raysut and Raysut Cement Factory. A number of local and international banks contributed to financing the project.
The track for the pipeline from Saih roll in central Oman to Dhofar governorate was determined to prevent damage to irrigation systems, farms and pastures and curb any negative effects on sanctuaries and archaeological and historical landmarks.
OGC, a closed stock company established in 2000 by the Sultanate of Oman government, implemented the project. The Ministry of Oil and Gas owns 80% stake in the company and the remainder of its capital is owned by Oman Oil Company. The OGC signed a 25-year concession agreement with the government in 2002 for transporting gas and operating the pipeline facility.
In September 2001, the company completed construction of a gas pressure reduction station near Raysut Industrial Estate in Salalah at the cost of RO1.3 million.