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Port of Duqm, Oman

Strategically located on a key naval chokepoint, the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world's exported oil shipments pass, Oman plays an important role in helping the U.S. contribute to regional stability. Duqm is Omans flagship development project. With its geographical location in the Indian Ocean, Duqm is the gateway to the Gulf and Iran and an important and safe port for the export of goods to the markets of India and East Africa.

The new city being built in the interior of Oman will eventually include: a new port; naval base; dry dock; fisheries hub; industrial free zone; hotels; power and desalination plants; a refinery; a 250km pipeline network from interior oil fields; liquid jetty; and an oil tank storage terminal. The government also aspires to build a local rail line, which is expected to facilitate the transfer of mineral resources from the Shweimiyah area in the Dhofar governorate to the Port of Duqm. The nearby port of Salalah, the largest port in Oman, complements the support provided by the port of Duqm with fuel and material distribution facilities.

Port facilities and services in Duqm have expanded in recent years to offer U.S. naval warships deployed to the area a wider range of maintenance and logistics capabilities. With the port's deep draft, the facility is capable of accommodating nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. The U.S. has worked closely with Oman's government to grow capabilities at the port of Duqm to provide increased logistical support for the U.S. Navy in regional security and theater security cooperation efforts. The port of Duqm provides a unique capability to support repairs and maintenance which would otherwise need to be completed in homeport.

The Oman Logistics Strategy lays out long-term objectives for increasing the contribution of the logistics sector to GDP. Strategic objectives over the past few years have been focused on easing congestion and enhancing capacity by investing in infrastructure and technology for the upgrade of ports, airport facilities, and new road links. Consolidating its infrastructure and improving the ease of doing business will prove crucial for Oman in competing with other Gulf ports.

The Special Economic Zone Authority for Duqm (SEZAD) and the Port of Duqm are actively seeking foreign investment to help finance development. In addition to the massive array of construction projects, the new city requires infrastructure development in sewage treatment, drainage, water desalination, power plants, buildings, telecommunication services, and landscaping.

Port of Duqm is fast becoming an important reality of the Middle East region\'s and will catalyse the development of Al Wusta Governorate. The first phase of the port will handle containers, general, and bulk cargo. The inner basin is -18 m deep and has commercial quay (2.25 km. by 350m.) which can accommodate 8 vessels. Moreover, a 1 km Government quay is also under construction, which will accommodate the Royal Navy, Coast Guard, and Oman's fast ferries.

The Oman Oil Company (OOC) and Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) have signed a partnership agreement for their Ad Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company (DRPIC) joint venture to build two facilities: a 230,000 b/d export refinery in a special economic zone under development at Ad Duqm on the Arabian Sea coast of central Oman and a 200 million barrel crude oil storage terminal at Ras Markaz. [14] The storage terminal, with Phase One estimated to be complete in 2019, will be one of the worlds largest crude oil storage facilities. [15] The Ad Duqm refinery could be operational by 2022, and most of the plants output will be exported. According to the OOC, the cost of developing the refinery will be $6 billion$7 billion. Both Oman and Kuwait will provide crude oil feedstock.

For this purpose, a joined venture company has been established between the government of Oman and the Consortium Antwerp of Belgium. Special attention is being paid towards designing and constructing first-rate facilities relying on latest technologies, including information technology (IT) systems. This will enhance efficiency and reduce operation costs. The completion of the second phase will result in a larger basin 6.5 km2 and an additional 13,500 m of commercial quays, providing room for more than 36 additional berths.

Commercial activities started at Oman's Duqm Port in March 2013, giving it a major boost in achieving its full potential in the coming years. The port in Wusta Governorate has been designed to receive millions of containers and handle general, bulk and liquid cargo.

The Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (Sezad) granted Oman Tank Terminal Company (OTTCO) a usufruct right to construct Ras Markaz crude oil storage terminal in July 2017. The agreement was inked on behalf of Sezad by Yahia Bin Said bin Abdullah Al Jabri, chairman of the board and on behalf of Oman Tank Terminal Company by Engr. Isam Bin Saud Al Zadjali, CEO of Oman Oil Company and by Said Bin Hamoud Al Maawali, director of OTTCO. The newly established terminal will help Oman find an additional port for the export of crude oil. Ras Markaz is located 70-km south of Al Duqm Centre and the total area allocated for the storage terminal is 1,253ha which is appropriate for high storage capacities.

Duqm Naval Dockyard (DND), a new Omani-British joint venture that adds a strategically important dimension to the world-class ship repair and maintenance capabilities of the Oman Drydock Company (ODC), formally came into operation in July 2017. DND is a partnership between the wholly government-owned Oman Drydock Company (ODC), with a 51 per cent shareholding, and Babcock International Group, the UKs leading engineering services provider for the British Navy, with a 49 per cent stake.

The new entity, which operates out of ODCs state-of-the-art ship repair yard at Duqm, will service naval ships from British, European and other friendly international navies for repairs and maintenance services in the Sultanate. Equally, it brings specialist marine engineering know-how to Oman which, alongside planned partnerships with global heavyweights, positions ODC for stronger business growth and potentially the rollout of shipbuilding capabilities in the future as well. Babcock is the principal provider of engineering support services to the UKs Royal Navy. Over the past 25 years, the British firm has also provided critical naval design services, equipment and support to the navies of a number of countries.

The launch of the new naval dockyard was expected to help pull in larger numbers of warships and naval craft for repairs and maintenance at Duqm. As many as 27 warships belonging to various international navies have so far been handled at the yard since it was opened in 2011.

Duqms Special Economic Zone will also house world-class tourism facilities as officials look to create a comprehensive blend of business and commercial activities and leisure facilities for Omans future city. After attracting billions of dollars in investment into its lucrative industrial zone, SEZAD revealed their entire city plan that will encompass all aspects of a modern city with a strong focus on tourism. The master plan of the city lays out separate zones to accommodate industrial activities, divided into small, medium and heavy, and residential and tourism complexes isolated from each other to nullify any risks of emissions.

USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) tested the capabilities of the port to handle an aircraft carrier for the first time, October 2014.

Amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25) departed Duqm, Oman, following a port visit and mid-deployment maintenance availability, 10 February 2017. The port visit allowed Somerset to conduct maintenance required to keep the vessel mission-ready for the remainder of its deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. The crew and members of the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) also took advantage of the opportunity to experience Oman's culture during liberty.

"The port visit to Duqm, Oman, was an excellent opportunity to conduct maintenance on the ship," said Capt. Darren Glaser, commanding officer of Somerset. "The facilities and maintenance support in Duqm are top-notch and made sure we had everything we needed. For several of 'Team Somerset,' the port of Duqm was a first visit to the country of Oman, and the entire 'blue-green team' performed perfectly while enjoying their well-deserved liberty."

On March 24, 2019, the United States and Oman expanded their longstanding bilateral partnership by concluding an agreement governing U.S. access to facilities and ports in Salalah and Duqm. His Excellency Marc J. Sievers, Ambassador of the United States to Oman, signed the agreement on behalf of the United States, while His Excellency Mohammed Al Rasbi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Defense, signed for Oman. The agreement reaffirms the commitment of both countries to promoting mutual security goals and highlights the enduring strength of the U.S.-Oman strategic relationship, reflecting U.S. support for Omans sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In an unfunded priorities list submitted to lawmakers in February 2020, Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie requested a total of $371.8 million to "increase our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capacity, support countering unmanned aerial systems threats, provide for base defense and resiliency, and conduct inform and influence activities against malign state actors and their proxies." Of that money, which is not included in the proposed budget, $21 million would go "to continue developing Duqm, Oman as the only fully capable and scalable logistics hub" outside the Gulf that can support the US military with "distribution for all classes of supply," McKenzie wrote.

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