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September 29, 2014: With new International Maritime Organisation regulations requiring cargo ships to cut the level of sulphur oxide in fuel supplies to 0.1 percent by 1 January 2015, SOHAR Port and Freezone Executive Commercial Manager Edwin Lammers called on world leaders within the global shipping industry to join forces in their search for innovative testing methods, quality control, fuel efficiency, and risk management practices.

While SOHAR currently falls outside of the Sulphur Emissions Control Areas in which the new low sulphur fuels will be required, its position at the crossroads between East and West and rapidly expanding business interests mean many of the ships that use its world-class bunkering facilities will be required to adhere to the new ruling. And, with shipping lines around the world bracing for the additional costs associated with the switch, Mr. Lammers was keen to highlight the abundance of low-cost energy at the logistical hub.

Speaking ahead of RESCON2014, Mr. Lammers said:

"Reducing the sulphur content in shipping fuel has obvious benefits for the environment and will no doubt bring about a substantial reduction in the carbon footprint of the world's cargo fleet. However, if refining processes are not fully prepared for the shift, reducing sulphur content has the potential to increase the cost of refining processes, affect cat fines that can lead to damaged engines, and in the worst case scenario, increase the risk of flashpoints in marine gasoil that could lead to onboard explosions," said Mr. Lammers.

"As global leaders, we will need to work together to ensure the industry is prepared, and minimise the impact of these potential risks. At the same time, we will need to work hard to keep costs down – especially given the almost immediate demand for low sulphur MGO that will begin at the start of next year and the addition blending that will be required to reduce sulphur content during the refining process. At SOHAR we are fortunate to have an abundance of low-cost energy, but globally it is quite the opposite," he said.

Having recently boosted its in port bunkering services with the addition of a 6,000mt IFO barge and 500cbm gasoil barge, SOHAR is home to some of the world's most experienced bunkering service and liquid bulk storage facilities. This includes Omanoil Matrix Marine Services LLC (MXO), an independent joint venture between Germany's Matrix Marine Holding and Oman Oil and the company responsible for bringing the new barges to SOHAR; and world-leading liquid bulk terminal operators, Oiltanking Odfjell.

With an existing tank capacity of 1,366,640cbm, Oiltanking Odfjell combines the expertise of two of the world's leading storage providers for petroleum products, chemicals, and gases. Its terminal combines multiple deep-water berths with a flexible system and high pump capacity, and the joint venture is set to manage ex-pipe fuel services provided through an exclusive 43,000cbm storage agreement with MXO.

SOHAR Port and Freezone is a deep sea port and free zone in the Middle East, situated in the Sultanate of Oman around 200 kilometres northwest of its capital Muscat. With current investments exceeding $15 billion, it is one of the world's largest port and free zone developments and lies at the centre of global trade routes between Europe and Asia.

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