in the Port
of Sohar

Venturn organises and facilitates many exciting projects in ports all over the world. In this month’s Voice, we shed some light on one of our current projects for the Port of Sohar, also known as the Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC). Special thanks go out to Tom Costa, the lead engineer involved with the project, who shared his views on the challenges and opportunities regarding energy optimisation in Sohar!

One of the factors companies consider when selecting a new location to settle, is the availability of energy sources, utilities, and the availability of other industries which can directly supply raw materials. In the case of Sohar Port and Freezone, the limited capacity of natural gas has previously narrowed the opportunities for new players who wish to invest in the Sohar area. Implementing successful energy saving strategies can free present capacity of natural gas to stimulate the growth of the port, as well as reduce operational costs and satisfy emission regulations.

In this project, Venturn is working closely with Sohar Port to guide them in optimising their energy supply. Aside from setting up the appropriate strategy, another challenge was to select the right people to direct the project on location. This is one area where Venturn excels. Tom Costa has years of experience as a process optimization engineer, where he used methodologies to find energy saving opportunities for various industrial clients, from chemicals/manufacturing/bulk and specialties. Additionally, he assisted Groningen Seaports in exploring strategies for the development of a central utility organization. Since February 2018, he has been actively involved with the project as the lead engineer overseeing the energy optimisation process in Sohar.

For this project, Tom recruited three Omani graduates, all with a technical background as either process engineers or chemists. To strengthen the team, he has added a Dutch intern with a strong commercial and public relations background. “Together, we take up various challenges, either aimed directly at optimising the various industries found in the port, or in search of companies or products that can potentially play a role in the existing industrial cluster of the industrial area.”

He explains: “The project touches many different facets in this growing and thriving industrial site found in this corner of Oman: energy efficiency, energy transition, industrial synergies, commercial cooperation, cluster expansion, new and innovative technologies with great potential wanting to enter the market…” Tom clarifies that opportunities in the area are everywhere and the potential to improve is immense. “I have an eye for analysing systems and spotting opportunities where others see problems and challenges. So what is my biggest challenge in Sohar? I would say… time.”

For one of Tom’s projects, he looked at floating solar power in the port of Sohar. “To determine its true potential, we had a group of students from TU Delft and Sohar University do a thorough assessment of our channel in an exciting project.” He shares an artist impression of what the result could look like.

“I’m grateful to have Venturn looking over my shoulder during this project,” Tom has to say about his position as a Venturnian on location. “I value the guidance and advice offered by Patrick. I also have the pleasure of having two other colleagues from Venturn at SIPC, and we often get together after work and share experiences and explore local restaurants.”

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