Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC) and Spanish company Compania Logistica de Hidrocarburos CLH, have officially launched the Orpic Logistics Company (OLC), a joint venture between the two parties.
According to Oman News Agency, ONA, the agreement was signed by Dr. Mohammed bin Hamed al-Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas and Chairman of ORPIC, and Jose Luis Lopez de Silanes, Chairman of CLH.
The official signing formalities took place in the presence of board members and senior management of both companies, as well as the Spanish Ambassador to Oman, Juan Jose Urtasun.
OLC has been established first and foremost to construct the Muscat-Sohar Product Pipeline (MSPP), and consists of three key elements; a 280km multiproduct pipeline between Orpic's Mina Al Fahal Refinery and its Sohar Complex; a terminal in Jifnain, in Muscat Governorate and a direct pipeline link from Jifnain to Muscat International Airport.
MSPP is one of three major projects, the others being the Sohar Refinery Improvement Project and the Liwa Plastics Project, which Orpic is engaged in over the next four years.
"This is a significant project on a number of levels," said Musab al- Mahrouqi, Orpic CEO. "As a multi-product pipeline it is a first for Oman, a complex transportation system that will have a positive impact for the business overall and specifically in environmental issues. The Jifnain terminal is a strategic storage facility, capable of responding to emergency situations should it be necessary. And the direct link to the new airport will mean that aircraft will be refuelled through a closed system, guaranteeing a continuous flow 24 hours a day, rather than having to use fuel tankers. We strongly believe that this project is strategically important for Oman." The pipeline will transport four types of fuel, premium and regular gasoline, diesel and jet A1 for aircraft, using a computer controlled buffering system to separate product streams. It also has two way functionality, enabling products to be sent to or from Orpic's refineries and the strategic storage facility in Jifnain.
From the environmental perspective, the project will have significant benefits, particularly in Muscat. Currently fuels are tankered by road out of the Mina Al Fahal Refinery and through the city. The new pipeline will reduce traffic on the roads in Muscat and up to the Al Batinah, reducing the potential for accidents involving tankers and the carbon footprint. The tanker numbers will be reduced by 70%, giving significant relief to the capital's traffic.
At the airport, aircrafts will be pump-filled on their stands rather than relying on tankers coming to them, which has important safety benefits. With the Jifnain terminal, Orpic will have created a national fuel reserve for emergencies, whether caused by technical interruptions or adverse weather.
OLC is scheduled to complete the pipeline connection between Mina Al Fahal Refinery and the airport in 2016.