OMAN - Energy & Mining
Managing Director, Marafiq
Abdullah Al Hashimi is the Managing Director of Marafiq, Chairman of Oman Sustainable Water Solutions, and a board member of Majis Industrial Services Company. Prior to this, he was a projects general manager at Oman Wastewater Company (Haya Water), where he developed and managed the project department from its early inception to its day-to-day operations. Earlier, Al Hashimi worked with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and the Royal Oman Police in various positions. He was also chairman of Majan Electricity Company. Al Hashimi is a civil engineer holding a master’s degree in construction management. He has extensive experience in the development, implementation, and management of new projects within the public sector.
What have been some major highlights for the company over the past year?
Marafiq was planned to become Oman’s number-one utility company based on the development of industrial zones and the relevant regulatory framework. At the early stage of concept development, we realized that all the major industrial hubs in Europe and Asia were moving toward centralized utility companies given the many benefits, such as economies of scale, synergies, and optimization of costs. The core activities of Marafiq are providing utilities and moving many capital investments from other industries and centralizing them into the utility company. The establishment of Marafiq is in line with the international trend of utilities out-sourcing and centralization. Marafiq has achieved many milestones over the past 18 months, including the construction and commissioning of the 326-MW, 1,250cbm/hr Duqm Integrated Power and Water Plant (DIPWP) and providing power and water to our major customer, OQ8 (Duqm Refinery). Marafiq has also commissioned another power plant—a mobile gas turbine facility—and we have since become the main water producer and power generator in Duqm. Marafiq has evolved from being a project-focused company to a business-focused operating company, and we have structured the company accordingly. Marafiq’s goal is to become the ultimate leading integrated utility developer in Oman.
What makes it a unique player in the market?
We have invested in some of the major infrastructure development to advantageously position our company in the market. There are very attractive opportunities for reinvestment, particularly in the potable water generation infrastructure that would enable us to become the number-one provider in the market in Duqm, and this would be reflected in the due course of services. The other advantage is that Marafiq is a joint venture company. The two partners are in agreement to position the company accordingly, being large and reputable shareholders OQ and Gulf Energy Development. This gives the company a solid position in terms of accountability, operational capability, and reputation. We are exploring other ways to reduce the utilization of natural gas and complementing it with new renewable resources. We are also looking into the best technology available to manage waste and mix industrial and domestic waste. Our objective and goal is to reach zero CO2 discharge.
How big is your agenda to become more environmentally friendly?
This is not an option now—it is a commitment we are working toward. Our main customer is OQ8 (Duqm Refinery). We need to balance the renew-able and conventional power generation to ensure that the mix provides the most sustainable, available, and secure source of utilities to the refinery and other customers. In our PPA with Tanweer, we used to run a diesel power plant that caused a negative environmental impact. We switched to gas turbines and significantly reduced the cost of electricity generation. From an environmental perspective, we reduced our carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90,000 tons per year—equivalent to taking up to 20,000 cars off the roads. We are also working with developers of green ammonia hydrogen projects to provide sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions.
How important is it for Marafiq to promote human capital and local talent?
Currently, we have established a talent management framework that fully addresses all the competency requirements for jobs. The focus is on nationals to ensure their skills match the job requirements based on a clear skills development plan. We have also launched 25 HR initiatives for our staff. We plan to improve the local working environment and will launch a staff satisfaction survey. We empower employees to have a voice and provide feedback on what we are doing and have also developed a corporate communication plan to en-gage with external stakeholders and enhance internal communication with our staff. The goal is for them to be aware of all the strategies and initiatives taking place within the company and be the ambassadors of Marafiq going forward.
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