Industry Updates

Multi-sectoral panel to draft hydrogen-centric energy policy

A broad roadmap has been chalked out for the development of a new energy policy, underpinned by an effective regulatory framework, to help drive the growth of a future hydrogen economy in the Sultanate of Oman, a key official disclosed here on Tuesday.

Abdulaziz bin Said al Shidhani, who was recently appointed to head the newly established Directorate General of Renewable Energy and Hydrogen at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, said the landmark exercise involves multiple government ministries and the energy sector stakeholders.

Addressing a forum on ‘Green Hydrogen Prospects’, jointly organised by the Authority for Public Services Regulation (APSR) and the Sustainable Energy Research Centre (SERC) at Sultan Qaboos University, Al Shidhani said a high-level Steering Committee will shortly be set up under the auspices of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to oversee the effort.

Also collaborating in this endeavour are the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, Oman Investment Authority (OIA), Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ) and Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, he stated.

Significantly, a National Energy Transition Master plan is currently nearing completion, the Director-General said. Enshrined in the master plan are seven key goals: Enhancing energy efficiency, Growing Renewable Energies, Promoting integrated new energy solutions, Focusing on carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) as a decarbonisation solution, Developing international markets for hydrogen, Advancing local hydrogen utilization opportunities, and Optimising gas monetisation.

A number of key energy sector stakeholder institutions have also been contributing to the effort to formulate a new hydrogen-centric energy policy for the Sultanate of Oman, said Al Shidhani. Led by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, this effort has also involved APSR, the power sector, OQ Group, and Oman Vision 2040.

Once the broad policy objectives of the New Energy Policy have been agreed, the ministry concerned will then be tasked with developing the policies and strategies in accordance with the broad objectives. Further tasks, such as regulations and certifications, will be distributed to the entities concerned within government, he noted.

“We will need to have an overarching Energy Transition Policy which will then be cascaded down to the following four specific energy policies: Energy Efficiency Policy, Renewable Energy Policy, Hydrogen Policy and Carbon Capture Utilisation & Storage (CCUS) Policy. We will also need to make sure that cross-cutting policies that capture In-Country Value (ICV), R&D, capacity building and innovation are also embedded within these four policies'', the official stated.

Part of the new Steering Committee’s mandate, said Al Shidhani, is to enable speedy decision-making and facilitate seamless cross-sector collaboration. Its primary remit will cover six key objectives: Formulating relevant laws, regulations, policies, and strategies, Investment evaluation, Renewable Energy concessions and urban master-planning, Studies group, Establishment of Hydrogen Development Oman as a government-owned company, and the Creation of a new national database for new energies, he added.

Yesterday’s symposium was held under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Dr. Fahd bin Julanda al Said, President of Sultan Qaboos University. Also present were Shaikh Dr. Mansoor bin Talib al Hinai, Chairman — APSR, representatives of the National Hydrogen Alliance (Hy-Fly), and a number of green energy experts.