Fuel Bunkering in Oman: Behind the Scenes
Compared with others in the region, liquid bulk storage facilities in Oman remain modest, but millions of dollars are being injected into new bunkering infrastructure and pipelines, which will bring unrivalled connectivity between the Sultanate’s burgeoning logistics hubs and inland regions.
With this in mind, there is much to look forward to in 2015, despite what has proven a turbulent year for some sectors.
There is a lot being said about the liquid bulk industry at the moment. The foreclosure of OW obviously has massive implications for the global bunkering industry, oil prices have dipped dramatically and while they are beginning to rise, no one is sure how long for. On the flip side of this, the value of petrochemicals like PET is increasing.
Increasing costs and regulations surrounding shipping fuels have also caused a rethink with the IMO deadline to reduce sulphur oxide content in fuel to an unprecedented 0.1 percent approaching fast. This has prompted huge investment in LNG technologies, but it does not mean that we simply abandon oil, that would be impossible and impractical.
The uncertainties surrounding global oil production and price have done little to suppress interest in liquid bulk storage and projects at SOHAR, where work is moving at a rapid pace to ensure infrastructure and services remain ahead of the curve. A balance is also being struck between infrastructure, industry and storage.
Hundreds of kilometres of new pipeline are being laid by Orpic, including a two-way product pipeline between Muscat and SOHAR. A new storage facility will be built in the capital as part of the project, and will link to existing storage facilities at SOHAR. This will be the first of its kind in Oman, and will eliminate the need to truck refined products, which will translate into a 70 percent drop in road traffic, as well as efficiency gains.
Construction of the pipeline and oil tanks is expected to commence in early 2015 and is due to be commissioned around the second quarter of 2017. Once complemented the pipeline network will have a total length of over 280km and will make it possible for over 5.4 million cubic metres to be transported.
Meanwhile, having also agreed a US$2.8 billion financing package for the ongoing Sohar Refinery Improvement Project, Orpic is to expand the capacity of its SOHAR refinery, from 120,000 to 180,000 barrels per day.
On other fronts, service providers MXO, and Fendercare and SPT, have agreed deals to expand and set up respective in-port bunkering and ship-to-ship LNG operations at SOHAR. As one of the leading providers of refuelling services, MXO added a 6,000 MT IFO Barge and 500 CBM Gasoil Barge to its fleet, while the LNG service will be among only a handful provided worldwide.
In addition, MXO are planning to add ex-pipe fuel deliveries via an exclusive 43,000cbm storage agreement with Oiltanking Odfjell. Meanwhile, they will build a fully-renewable PET manufacturing facility that will produce over a million tonnes of environmentally-friendly packaging materials and generate liquid bulk volumes. The expansion at SOHAR is underpinned by its world-class storage facilities.
All of these projects are significant for SOHAR and for Oman, as they demonstrate that the appetite there is for foreign and domestic investment in Oman's liquid bulk sectors. At the same time, getting these valuable commodities in and out of SOHAR would be near impossible if it were not for the storage facilities and logistics services at our disposal.
Taking advantage of our strategic location outside of the Strait of Hormuz, Oiltanking Odfjell has established a diverse and flexible terminal facility for storage and handling of petroleum products, chemicals and gases.
As such, the terminal supports both trade and cargo flows in the Middle East region, as well as flows from the Gulf to other continents and regions. Multiple deep water berths, a flexible system, and high pump capacity are also set up to offer a quick and efficient vessel turnaround.
Edwin Lammers, Executive Commercial Director at SOHAR Port and Freezone, is one of 20 world-leading experts set to speak at Tank Storage Middle East. The conference and exhibition take place from 26 - 27 January 2015, at The Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, UAE. To find out more visit www.tankstoragemiddleeast.com
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”