Second methanol plant for Sohar

18 November 2005
The shareholders in Oman Methanol Company (OMC)have established a new company, Sohar Methanol Company, to build a second plant at the northern industrial city. Speaking in Muscat on 15-16 November at the Port of Sohar conference, organised jointly by MEED and Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC), OMC chief executive Richard Preece said that the new plant would be similar in size to OMC's 3,000-tonne-a-day (t/d) plant, which is under construction, and would likely cost $400 million-500 million. The shareholders in OMC are Methanol Holding Trinidad (MHTL), the local Omar Zawawi Establishment (Omzest)and Germany's MAN Ferrostaal(MEED 8:4:05).

The Sohar Methanol plant will be built beside the OMC facility and, subject to receiving gas feedstock approval, will be commissioned in mid-2008, a year after the first plant. 'We are aiming to achieve financial close towards the end of the first quarter of 2006,' Preece said.

Part of OMC's output will supply a new $21 million formaldehyde plant, being developed by a 50:50 joint venture of Omzest and Saudi Arabia's Manso Group. The plant will be built by local contractors and debt financed by local banks, Omzest's senior vice-president KS Cheema said at the conference. Licensing, engineering and supply of the plant, one of the first downstream petrochemical ventures in Sohar, is being carried out by Denmark's Haldor Topsoe. Construction of the plant is due to begin in mid-2006 with commissioning set to coincide with OMC's methanol unit.

The Sohar scheme is one of two methanol projects planned in the sultanate. A 3,000-t/d plant is also planned in the Salalah Free Zone involving Oman Oil Company. Finalisation of the shareholding structure is awaited (MEED 30:9:05).

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