20 March, Muscat: The highly-anticipated national-level event, Oman Sustainability Week (OSW), came to a successful close on 16 March 2023. Garnering a positive response from individuals, corporate companies, and various ministries, the event witnessed a massive visitor footfall.
With a vision to achieve economic growth, social inclusion, and protect the country’s environment, OSW was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) acting as the host organisation. The event was also supported and sponsored by ministries, government bodies, and leading local and international companies.
Preceding the inauguration of OSW was the OSW Awards which was held on 12 March, 2023 at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) and welcomed HE Salim Al Aufi, Minister of Energy and Minerals as the Chief Guest. The prestigious ceremony was organised to recognise organisations that had demonstrated significant efforts in contributing to Oman’s sustainability agenda. Prior to the start of the OSW Awards ceremony was the launch of Oman’s first hydrogen vehicle that further reiterated the ministry’s concerted efforts towards the ‘Carbon Zero’ neutrality programme. The announcement was made under the auspices of HE Eng. Saeed Bin Hamoud Al-Mawali, the Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, HE Salim Al Aufi, and ASYAD Group.
Following the awards was the opening ceremony on 13 March 2023 at OCEC which marked the official inauguration of OSW. The Chief Guest for the inauguration was HE Mohsin bin Hamad bin Saif al Hadhrami, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. The event also witnessed the presence of distinguished officials from different ministries, C-level decision-makers from across Oman’s economic spectrum, and industry leaders. Dr. Tony Juniper CBE, Chair of Natural England and former special advisor to His Majesty King Charles III’s Prince Trust Sustainable Unit, delivered the keynote address at the inauguration. Subsequent to the commencement of OSW, HE Al Hadhrami also inaugurated the OSW Expo along with C-Level representation from all participating organisations.
Commenting on the success of the event, Mr Haitham bin Hamad Al-Mashrif, Director of Communication and Media at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, said, “The significant participation witnessed by Oman Sustainability Week represents a notable success for what it has presented in its events during its second session this year. The week represented an important opportunity to support national efforts to raise awareness of the necessity of adopting various sustainability practices in daily life, as well as in the business sector and the positive impact it leaves in the long run. Today, sustainability principles are a fundamental driver of achieving positive competitiveness among various types of institutions. What motivates everyone is the noticeable shift in the thinking patterns of individuals and institutions that have harnessed advanced technologies and innovation to serve the requirements of environmental, social and governance initiatives in the field of sustainability. It is important to combine these efforts in supporting all initiatives that contribute to sustainability at different levels and are consistent with the national goals towards Oman’s zero carbon neutrality and creating a sustainable economy.”
The OSW Expo witnessed participation from 102 local and international companies representing 3 country pavilions. Over 8,151 attendees visited the event seeking business solutions and knowledge exchange. During the three days of the exhibition, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals signed a number of agreements with leading organisations that have pledged their commitment to sustainability.
Oman Shell and Oman Airports Management Company announced a land allocation for Shell’s green hydrogen for mobility project which will become the first station in Shell globally to have a hydrogen production unit on site. In order to achieve maximum energy efficiency, the station will be partially solar-powered and will include multiple mobility solutions including electric vehicle (EV) charging units, hydrogen fuelling units as well as other fuelling and non-fuel retail products and services. HE Al Aufi, Walid Hadi, Oman Shell’s Senior Vice President and Country Chair, Sheikh Aimen Al Hosni, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Airports, and HE Eng Nayef bin Ali Al Abri, President of the Civil Aviation Authority were present for the announcements.
Hydrom signed six agreements with international developers and investors with total investments exceeding $20 billion over the next seven years, which the company referred to as Oman’s Green Hydrogen Legacy initiatives. The production capacity of these projects is expected to reach 15 gigawatts of electricity with an estimated area of 1,500 square kilometers in the governorates of Al Wusta and Dhofar.
Nama Holding Company and Nafath Renewable Energy also signed two agreements to further its Solar Panel on Buildings and its Green School Initiatives.
A total of 6 agreements were signed by be’ah including one with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to ensure safe transportation and storage of WEEE generated by the Ministry in an environmentally friendly manner. Meanwhile, the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Oman Cement Company (OCC) was geared at achieving waste diversion and diversification of energy sources using Refuse-Derived Fuel, planned to be utilised at OCC’s cement plant in Misfah. In addition to the agreements, be’ah also launched the activities it designed as part of its efforts to promote sustainability teachings amongst youth. The activities will be integrated as part of the Ministry of Education’s portal.
The International Sustainability Resources and Technology Conference (ISRTC) was attended by over 445 delegates, whereas the C-level thought leadership SPE Gaia Summit witnessed 95 participants over two days.
As part of the OSW Talks, Oman Shell hosted the Shell NXplorer – a dedicated programme that while focusing on the Food – Water- Energy nexus also seeks to inculcate creative thinking amongst the youth and equip them with the tools needed to lead change in the sector. In addition, the Shell Nawafidh programme was also conducted in partnership with the German University of Technology in Oman (GUTech) and Outward Bound Oman (OBO). The programme included both technical and non-technical sessions and was designed with the central objective to help participants develop technical and life skills which would enable them to lead the transition into the emerging energy markets.
To conclude the event, a series of Site Visits were organised on 16 March. The site visits showcased various sustainability initiatives undertaken by PDO, bp, be’ah, Nama, ASYAD Group and OQ. The activities offered attendees an opportunity to visit projects that are at the forefront of building a sustainable environment across the country.
The well-organised OSW event was strongly aligned with Oman’s National Energy Strategy and the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). It proved successful in engaging national development stakeholders and presenting Oman as a model for sustainable development. Apart from giving a strong impetus to the country’s sustainability initiatives, OSW also further cemented the Sultanate’s role as a country that is committed to energy independence, generation of revenues from non-traditional natural resources, and innovation in infrastructure to produce affordable and clean energy for the protection of the climate and environment.
The next edition of Oman Sustainability Week will be held from 28 April to 2 May 2024. To know more visit www.omansustainabilityweek.com