April 2023, Vol. 250, No. 4


Oman Hydrogen Options Include New Pipelines, Underground Storage

By Polly Martin, Hydrogen Economist 

(P&GJ) — Oman is gearing up its efforts to attract international investment into developing hydrogen hubs in the country, including an extension of its bid submission deadline for its first site auction for green hydrogen projects.

Oman’s port of Salalah is being considered as a hydrogen hub.

But the cost and feasibility of transportation and storage infrastructure could hinder Omani ambitions to be a major exporter of the fuel. 

State-affiliated logistics company Asyad recently published a report that evaluates the country’s options for hydrogen infrastructure, including pipelines and underground storage. 

Oman has high renewable energy potential in its south and east, where the ports of Duqm and Salalah are located. Meanwhile, while the port of Sohar, at 93 miles (150 km) south of the Strait of Hormuz, is situated at a key position for trade routes, it has little wind resource and solar development is limited by land availability. 

Asyad proposes that a new, 620-mile (1,000-km) pipeline from production centers in the south to the north would be able to transport 500,000 MTPA of hydrogen, and high demand could necessitate the construction of a second link.  

Oman would have to ramp up its renewables capacity by an additional 10 GW beyond what is in development to supply enough power to generate sufficient flows through the pipeline

Oman could also use its existing 2,485-mile (4,000-km) natural gas network connecting Salalah, Sohar and Sur through a hub in Fahud. A 124-mile (200-km) extension is also planned between Fahud and Duqm refinery. Asyad notes that blending 5pc hydrogen into the natural gas network would be “technically feasible and safe” without modifications.  

However, this mix would likely require separation at point of use due to asset limitations – a process that is “not economically viable with today’s technology,” the report warns, adding that “such low blending ratios would have minimal emissions-saving benefits.” 

Meanwhile, converting existing gas pipelines to carry hydrogen would prevent the transportation of natural gas through these networks. As such, “the timing of conversion must be planned carefully so long as natural gas plays an important role in the country’s energy supply,” the report notes. 

Low-carbon hydrogen can be used as feedstock for synthetic fuels, which could be transported in existing product pipelines, the report adds. “There is a product pipeline between Muscat and Sohar that transports kerosene from the refinery to Oman’s main aviation hub. In this context, it should be technically feasible to transport e-kerosene through the same pipeline and in a mix, creating immediate synergies.” 


Oman has three large salt basins that could potentially store terawatt-hours of hydrogen. However, none of them are close to potential hydrogen hubs at Omani ports. While rock caverns – which can be lined to contain high-pressure gases such as compressed hydrogen – present an option for storing hydrogen closer to these ports, the geology in the immediate vicinity of Salalah, Duqm and Sohar is unsuitable for cavern construction. The nearest possible sites are 43 miles (70 km), 50 miles (80 km) and 22 miles (35 km) away from each port, respectively. 

Despite geological challenges, Asyad said underground storage has a number of advantages over aboveground alternatives, such as lack of exposure to the atmosphere and oxygen sources, limited use of surface land and lower vulnerability to earthquakes or attacks on the surface. While rock cavern storage would incur a higher capex than salt caverns, it is “still very competitive when compared to aboveground storage options,” the report said. 

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