Sohar Port carries out first biofuel bunkering operation for tugs

Sohar Port and Freezone has conducted the first biofuel bunkering in tugboat operations as part of its strategy aimed at enhancing marine sustainability and reducing carbon emissions.

Sohar Port

The port received its first delivery of biofuel, B20, a mixture of 80% diesel and 20% biofuel, which began as a trial for tug Sohar. It also revealed that it has become one of the first ports in the Middle East ever to use biofuel bunkering in tugboat operations.

Sohar Port collaborated with tug operator Svitzer, biofuel supplier Wakud and bunker service provider Hormuz Marin during the bunkering.

“Marine operation is the main contributor to our greenhouse gas emissions, which has increased relative to the port’s growth through the direct emissions of fuel consumptions in tugboat operations. Implementing biofuel in our marine operation will significantly reduce SOHAR Port’s scope on emissions and keep us firmly on the path to support Oman`s wider environmental vision on the path to net zero,” said Emile Hoogsteden, CEO of Sohar Port.

“Working with SOHAR Port for the first biofuel bunker supply in Oman is a significant move toward emissions reduction and sustainability in the maritime industry. While marine gas oil remains necessary in the short term, gradually increasing biofuel usage will lead to substantial greenhouse gas emissions savings. This transition aligns with global efforts to combat climate change and demonstrates a commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable future in shipping,” Sulaiman Alhadhrami, CEO of Hormuz Marine, commented.

Abdullah bin Ali Al Busaidi, an expert of the Zero Carbon Neutrality Team at Oman’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, highlighted that the Ministry is collaborating with various government agencies on the eighteen carbon laboratory initiatives.

“The Ministry has developed a clear and comprehensive roadmap for the development of green ports, including multiple projects to reduce emissions, transitioning equipment to operate on electrical energy and smart systems, connect ships to electrical power, and establish a regional center for supplying ships with clean fuel,” he noted.

Biofuel is a renewable energy derived from organic materials, primarily plant and animal matter. In this project, biofuel is sourced from used cooking oil. An eco-friendly alternative to traditional fossil fuels, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions when burned.

Al Busaidi elaborated that the private sector has also identified key raw materials for the biofuel industry, focusing on waste cooking oils used in restaurants and shops.

“We are working with the concerned entities including the Environment Agency, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, the Ministry of Economy, and the private sector to address upcoming challenges such as pricing differences between biofuel and conventional fuel,” he added.

Biofuel bunkering is expected to decrease the company’s greenhouse gas emissions towards an initial target of 17%, in line with Oman’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050.

The project is part of Sohar Port and Freezone’s mission to accelerate the transition to the circular economy thereby bolstering economic development in Oman.

This includes the conservation of natural resources as a cornerstone to sustainable development, with a goal to use existing resources as much as feasible, aligning with Oman Vision 2040’s goal to achieve sustainable development and foster economic competitiveness.

To remind, Sohar Port recently revealed plans to invest $1.6 billion for the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction plant in the port.

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