Oman welcomes world's first liquefied hydrogen ship as it aims to boost fuel capacity

Suiso Frontier, the Japanese vessel, reached the Gulf nation as part of its Middle East tour

The Suiso Frontier sailed into Sultan Qaboos Port on Wednesday. Photo: Oman News Agency
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Oman on Wednesday welcomed the world's first liquefied hydrogen carrier ship Suiso Frontier at Sultan Qaboos Port in Muscat, the state-owned news agency reported.

The Japanese tanker, which reached the Gulf nation as part of its Middle East tour, was manufactured by the Kawasaki Heavy Industries and it is operated by Shell Japan.

With cargo capacity of up to 1,250 cubic metres, the ship is considered an experimental station on which to boost research and development in the field of hydrogen. It was built at a cost of nearly $359 million, Oman News Agency said.

Oman’s Minister of Energy and Minerals Salim Nasser Al Aufi toured the ship.

The sultanate is on track to become one of the largest producers of hydrogen in the world by 2030, the International Energy Agency said in a June report.

The country, which could also be the top exporter of the low-carbon fuel in the Middle East by the end of the decade, benefits from ample renewable energy sources and vast tracts of available land, the energy agency said.

Hydrogen, which can be produced from renewable energy and natural gas, is expected to become a critical fuel as economies and industries transition to a low-carbon world.

It comes in various forms, including blue, green and grey. Blue and grey hydrogen are produced from natural gas while green is derived from splitting water molecules through electrolysis.

In October, Oman set up a state-owned company, Hydrogen Oman, to oversee the development of such projects in the country.

The country has set aside two blocks in the southern port city of Duqm and another four in Salalah to be tendered for the development of green hydrogen projects.

Oman's Hydrom has also signed agreements worth $10 billion to develop two new green hydrogen projects with a Posco-Engie consortium and the Hyport Duqm consortium.

The contracts are expected to yield a total production capacity of 250 kilotonnes per annum from more than 6.5 gigawatts of installed renewable energy capacity at the sites, ONA reported in June.

Suiso Frontier has a hydrogen transfer control room that displays the scenarios of transporting liquefied hydrogen on a commercial scale, besides explaining the economic feasibility of transport projects.

Jota Yamamoto, Japanese ambassador to Oman, said the ship’s visit boosts bilateral relations in all fields, especially in energy.

Oman has signed several projects to produce 750,000 tonnes of green hydrogen with an investment $30 billion in the initial bidding phase, the ONA report said.

The country aims to produce more than 1 million tonnes by 2030 and 8 million tonnes by 2050.

Updated: August 16, 2023, 7:50 PM