In 2019, Oman set an ambitious goal of covering 30% of its electricity demand with renewable energy projects by 2030. The Sultanate aims at becoming a leader in the energy transition of the Gulf area.
Within the framework of Vision 2040, the country’s economic and social transformation strategy that aims to diversify the economy and strengthen the private sector, Oman has been working hard to reduce its dependence on oil.
In this respect, according to The Guardian, the production of green hydrogen could play an important role in Oman’s energy transition, “thanks to the country’s combination of plentiful daytime sun and strong winds at night”.
Recently, the Omani Ministry of Energy launched the Oman Green Hydrogen Alliance, in order to promote the development of the hydrogen industry in the Sultanate. As part of this initiative, from 29 November to 2 December 2021 Oman’s capital Muscat will host the Green Hydrogen Summit, a platform to explore investment opportunities with international partners.
The development of renewable energy and the hydrogen industry offer interesting opportunities for cooperation between Oman and Italy. For this reason, last month the Embassy of Italy in Muscat and Oman’s Ministry of Energy organized a webinar to explore prospects and opportunities for a stronger cooperation between the two countries. The webinar was attended by the Italian Ambassador Federica Favi, the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs of Italy, Manlio Di Stefano, and the Undersecretary for Energy of the Sultanate of Oman, Salim Al Aufi.
Several leading Italian companies of the energy sector – including ENI, SAIPEM, Maire Tecnimont, SNAM, Magaldi, Ansaldo Energia e Prysmian – engaged in a discussion with Omani key players of this field – PDO, OQ, Sohar Port and Free Zone – mutually sharing information on current initiatives and future plans, envisaging possible areas of common interest where research, industrial and technological cooperation can be strengthened with a view to promoting investments, transfer of technology and a sustainable growth pattern.
“Italy is at the forefront, also as co-chair of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), in promoting international collaborations for the reduction of emissions and the search for alternative energy supply sources – said Undersecretary Di Stefano – and it can be an important supplier of innovative technologies for Oman. Thanks to a wide and continuous availability of solar and wind sources, a consolidated industrial tradition in the production and export of energy, a strategic geographical position with access to ports and trade routes and the proximity to the main international markets, Oman constitutes a country of growing interest for the hydrogen industry and for renewable energy. ”
As Ambassador Favi recalled, thanks to the reforms included in Vision 2040, “the Sultanate is a destination of growing interest for Italian operators, especially in sectors related to the energy transition.”
Omani Undersecretary Salim al Aufi underlined the positive collaboration already underway with Italian companies in the energy sector, calling for new initiatives and investments.
The webinar, which was also attended by the Head of the new technologies and research department of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, Stefano Raimondi, also allowed for a debate between the two countries on their respective national energy policies. As the webinar demonstrated, there is great opportunity in enhanced cooperation between two countries that, despite appearances, have many things in common, including the structure of their economies, their geographical position as the crossroad between different regions and ancient cultures deeply connected to the sea.