Home / PEOPLE / Five Minutes With: Ishaq Mohamed Al-Sarhni

Five Minutes With: Ishaq Mohamed Al-Sarhni

by Martin Menachery on Jul 19, 2017

Ishaq Mohamed Al-Sarhni, general manager - engineering, Duqm Refinery.
Ishaq Mohamed Al-Sarhni, general manager - engineering, Duqm Refinery.

Ishaq Mohamed Al-Sarhni, general manager - engineering, Duqm Refinery, talks about the Duqm refinery project, in an interview given to Martin Menachery.

Can you detail on the project development phase of Duqm Refinery till today?

Duqm Refinery project is mandated to build a new grassroots refinery at Duqm, Oman. The project started few years back. We had a feasibility study conducted in 2012. In 2013, we moved to the technology selection process.

We selected four main technology licence sources. In the same year, we engaged a field contractor. The licensed technologies are put together with the FEED (front-end engineering design) work as a complete dossier of the project. An EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) tender was floated in 2015.

Please talk about a major challenge in the project…

One of the major challenges in the project is building a refinery from nothing, basically from scratch. Nowadays, very rarely refineries are built as grassroots projects. So, coming up with a refinery that becomes profitable and can reflect a bankable business case was not at all an easy task. It was really a challenging task.

We have to go for the state-of-the-art design; we have to go beyond the boundaries; and we have to design a refinery for a market that is going to have the stringiest specifications. This requires additional committed cost. The challenge is to give the additional committed cost within the margin so that the project becomes profitable and commercially viable.

Please talk about a major recent project milestone…

Floating the EPC tender was a major milestone for us. The task of putting the design together, and making a complete set of configurations, standards and specifications of world-class standards, which are going to yield to a viable project, was very challenging.

Coming to the point, we have got the licence for the basic design, have completed our tender documents and have floated these to the international markets. This is a major milestone.

What is there in the pipeline for the project in the next months?

In the next six months, we will be awarding the major EPC contract. That is going to be a step-change in the Duqm Refinery project.

When you are expecting the start-up of the refinery?

We are planning to start the refinery in 2021. All the plans and development works so far are supporting this target for commercial start-up.


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