Projects totaling a staggering RO 4.575 billion ($11.9 billion) are in various stages of design, development and operation at the Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ), according to an official of the Authority overseeing the establishment of one of the world's largest SEZs on the Wusta coast.
Zainab al Kharusi, Environmental Specialist at the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (SEZAD), said the projects in question — numbering 32 in all — comprise a mix of infrastructure, industry, utility, logistics, tourism and leisure, health, fishery and environment-related investments. Together, they will provide the underpinnings of a logistics hub that, in terms of geographical area, is already the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Addressing shipping agents at a seminar organised by the Port of Duqm at the Crowne Plaza Muscat yesterday, Zainab said the SEZ has been conceived as an integrated economic development covering an area of 1,777 sq kilometres and fronted by nearly 80 km of coastline.
This zone, in turn, is composed of eight distinct zones: Seaport, Industrial Area, New Town, Fishing Harbour, Tourism Zone, Logistics Hub, Education and Training Zone, and Airport. Scattered around these eight zones are 32 projects, some already in operation, but the large majority in varying stages of design and development, she said.
Ten of the projects in question have already been completed, the Environmental Specialist stated. They include: Duqm Port — Phase 1 (RO 1.057.7 bn), dry-dock (RO 278.9m), power plant (RO 22.9m), desalination plant (RO 10.1m), power distribution network (RO 10.1m), water distribution (RO 16.2m), City Hotel (RO 3m), Duqm Hospital expansion (RO 0.47m), Veronica floating hotel (RO 28m) and temporary fishing jetty (RO 0.35m).
Design and construction are ongoing on at least 15 other projects, Zainab said. Key among these are: Duqm Airport (RO 108m), sewage treatment plant (RO 1.4m) and Crowne Plaza Duqm (RO 16.7m).
A joint venture of DSME and Omran is also developing housing complexes for Oman Dry-Dock Company at a cost of RO 28 million.
The housing is part of an ambitious Frontier Town scheme envisioned by the joint venture partners. Separately, Musstir LLC — a partnership of MB Holding and Omran — is investing RO 7 million in the development of chalets at Duqm.
Also under various stages of tendering and implementation are road projects worth around RO 235 million, said Zainab.
They include a section of the main highway linking the port with the Sinaw-Mahout-Duqm carriageway (RO 42.8m), port roads (RO 81m), 250 kilometres of internal roads (RO 100m) and the 9km Nafun Road (RO 1.7m). Separately, SEZAD is investing RO 16.7 million in preparing the groundwork for rail connectivity in Duqm.
The biggest of the industrial projects envisioned at the Duqm SEZ is a refinery and petrochemical project worth an estimated RO 2.5 billion. A sum of RO 185 million has also been earmarked for the development of a gas pipeline network from the central Oman gas fields to Duqm.
Other large investments on the anvil are Package 1 of a flood protection venture worth RO 83 million, Nafun fisheries harbour (RO30m). Also underway are projects supporting the delivery of government services in Duqm, social housing schemes, and a boundary wall for the region's most famous natural attraction — the Rock Garden.
Oman Daily Observer