(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) Muscat- In an interview, Ali Sulayem bin Saleh al Junaibi, chairman of the board of directors of Global Integrated Engineering Co provided more details about Duqm Salt Factory and its use of local resources to meet the needs of the local market.
The factory produces the first of its kind raw and industrial salt in Oman. The plant, with a cost of RO12mn, is managed by Global Integrated Engineering Co, which is owned by Al Ghalbi International Engineering & Contracting LLC, a 100 per cent Omani company. The factory is built in Bentot in the Wilayat ofMahut in Al Wusta Governorate, about 400km from Muscat.
In an interview, Ali Sulayem bin Saleh al Junaibi, chairman of the board of directors of the company provided more details about Duqm Salt Factory and its use of local resources to meet the needs of the local market.
How did you come up with the idea of setting up a factory which is the first of its kind for the production of industrial salt?
We did a research to identify the needs of the oil and gas sector. We found that there is a considerable reliance on industrial salt, which is used in drilling operations in oil wells in Oman. It is also used in the treatment and desalination of steam water to extract oil using steam injection, especially heavy crude oil. The sultanate imports almost 1mn tons per year and consumes it at the different operations. We have seen promising opportunities in this product, which can be produced locally as the raw materials are available in the seas of the sultanate.
We made an in-depth study about the project and we consulted many houses of expertise. We received support and encouragement from the Ministry of Oil and Gas, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Public Authoirty for Mining. The Ministry of Housing played a significant role in getting the approval for allocating enough space to set up the project.
What are the production stages that precede the production of raw and industrial salt?
The production of raw and industrial salt from solar energy involves the establishment of saltwater drying ponds (marine and groundwater) through which the gradual intensification of salinity in these ponds depends on the environmental and natural factors of the water evaporation. At the final stage of evaporation, we have the raw salt. We then take this raw salt and start purifying it of impurities such as sand and using the high-tech equipment that ensures that our products meet international standards. After this we start the packaging stage.
Why did you select Al Wusta Governorate for this project?
Al Wusta is a promising economic gateway to the sultanate, especially many projects have already started operation in Duqm and many others are on the pipeline. It was also selected for a number of environmental and geographical factors that contribute to the intensification of sea salt. The other factors include its proximity to oil fields operating in the sultanate, which is the first consumer of our products as well as its proximity to Duqm which will facilitate the export of the product. Most important fact is that the government allocated a usufruct right for the land close to the sea of Oman to use seawater in the production of salt.
What are the project area and annual production volumes?
The project is located on an area of 1700sqm, and its annual production is about 135,000 tons which may be increased to 200,000 tons per year. The product of the factory targets the oil and gas sector locally, which will cover about 30 per cent of the use of oil fields of this product annually. Our product is of high quality and very high purity (99.8 per cent), which means that the products meets oil companies specifications and standards.
Does the factory produce only industrial salt or are there any other salt products?
At the first stage, the plant is specialised mainly in the production of industrial salt. Still, we have plans for the production of other types of salt derivatives, which are included in a number of industrial and food uses, such as bromide and all kinds of soda. At the second stage, we plan to produce table salt, salts for swimming pools, salt tablets for animals and salt used for de-icing and other uses.
What are the future plans for the plant?
The plant will be officially opened on July 23, with a production capacity of 135,000 tons per year. The product will be an added value to the sultanate as it will help in achieving the desired goals by the government. The project uses local raw material, which means that it will reduce the imports costs. Moreover, the sultanate will be among the salt producer countries and will enhance its position on the world industrial map.
We are looking forward to get the required support by tender authorities by giving preference to this local product. We are looking forward also to increase the production capacity to 500,000 tons annually. Therefore, we wish the concerned authorities will grant us an area for expansion of as we will need a large area for storing our product. At the coming stage, we have plans to produce other types of salt derivatives and for new markets in the neighbouring countries.
Any final words you want to add?
We thank the Ministry of Oil and Gas, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Housing, Public Authority for Mining, PDO, Occidental Oman and other oil companies for their positive response and cooperation with us. We will do our best to ensure that this product meets international standards. We hope that this product will be No 1 choice by oil and gas companies in all projects as it will be a kind of support for the local products.
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