Oman Oil Marketing Co. has started bunker sales at Sohar port on the country’s east coast as an alternative fuel source to the Port of Fujiarah in the UAE, the company’s senior manager Christophe El Kati said in an interview.
IMO-compliant 0.5%S sulfur marine fuel, 0.1%S marine gasoil and 3.5%S 380 CST bunker fuel are being offered after getting a bunker license from the Sohar Port and Freezone, El Kati told S&P Global Commodity Insights on July 22. The products are being offered from the company’s 10,000 mt capacity barge Alpha, he said. Sohar port currently receives about 3,000 vessels per year, and does about 15,000 mt/month of bunker sales.
Shippers may look at Sohar as an alternative to taking bunker fuel at Fujairah, especially in the event of congestion and delays at terminals at the larger Middle Eastern bunkering hub, he said. Fujairah is the world’s third-largest bunkering hub after Singapore and Rotterdam.
“We have flexibility, we have availability, we don’t have the wait times for ships to anchor, so we can add value where Fujairah cannot,” El Kati said.
Sohar Port and Freezone is managed by Sohar Industrial Port Co., a 50:50 joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam and Oman.
Marine fuel 0.5%S bunker currently accounts for a little over 80% of demand at Sohar, but plans are afoot to potentially start supplying biodiesel toward the end of the year to cater to growing demand from shipowners for alternative cleaner fuels, El Kati said.