OMAN - Energy & Mining
Group CEO, OQ
Talal Al Awfi has over 20 years of experience in oil, gas, and petrochemical marketing and trading. During his career he has held several key positions in the public and private sectors, notably CEO of Oman Trading International. As well as serving as a member of various boards across the oil and gas industry, Al Awfi has held a series of project management positions, one of which involved the initiation and set up of Oman Trading International in 2005. He holds a BSc in business and finance, as well as an MSc in marketing from Salford University, UK.
OQ is a key component in Oman’s economy and will have an important role to play in the implementation of Vision 2040. OQ’s vision is to maximize the value from Oman’s energy resources and to power the transition toward a sustainable future. Through this vision, and thanks to its workforce, asset base, and access to energy resources, OQ can support Oman Vision 2040 in a number of ways: continue creating jobs for Omani youth; support SMEs in adjacent industries and promote in-country value (ICV) creation; push forward the alternative energy agenda; implement a long-term sustainability agenda; invest in cutting- edge and innovative technologies; and attract FDI for projects in the pipeline
Despite the delays caused by the pandemic, we managed to achieve key milestones in two of our main projects. Both Liwa Plastic Industries Complex (LPIC) and the Liquified Petroleum Gas plant (LPG) have passed delicate and thorough tests and are currently in production stage. Work is still ongoing on two other projects, namely OQ Ammonia in Salalah and OQ8’s refinery in Duqm.
The energy sector, like many other sectors, suffered greatly in 2020 with consumption levels falling to all-time low levels. OQ is no exception, and although our portfolio helped mitigate some of COVID’s impacts, the pandemic flagged some weaknesses that should be addressed as soon as possible. We operate in a very competitive industry and have a large asset base producing commodities priced on a global level. As price is a variable beyond our control, over the next 12 months we must: focus on improving internally by optimizing our systems, increasing efficiencies, and managing costs; become more resilient and strengthen our balance sheet. As such, we are conducting a portfolio rationalization exercise and have already executed some divestments; invest selectively in growth projects, in particular alternative energy; and build on the work done so far on sustainability and ESG. For OQ to operate on an international level, OQ must benchmark itself to leading energy companies and our 12-month agenda will help bring us closer to our global peers.
Oman is blessed with an abundance of sunlight and wind. This perfect setup makes it a prime candidate to become an active global player in alternative energy. At OQ, we have recognized this competitive advantage early on and have already taken concrete steps in making this a reality. As such, an alternative energy division was established last year with a strategy focusing on three main pillars: energy efficiency, renewable energy (solar, wind), and green molecules (hydrogen, ammonia, and so on). Over the past 12 months we have made significant progress across all pillars, most notably in solar, green hydrogen, and ammonia. With more projects currently in the pipeline, we will continue to work with established and world-class partners to deliver state-of-the-art projects to support the national agenda and the role that Oman can play as a net energy exporter.
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