New legal framework for green hydrogen projects in Oman

His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik issued Royal Decree 10/2023 on February 26, 2023, establishing a new legal framework for large-scale renewables and green hydrogen projects in Oman.

In essence, the Royal Decree empowers Hydrogen Oman (Hydrom), an independent entity regulated by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, to exercise its broad mandate in overseeing the delivery of the Omani government’s vision for a green hydrogen industry to power the nation’s future decarbonized economy.

Hydrom master plans the sector, delineates government-owned land areas for green energy projects, structures large-scale green hydrogen projects, manages their allocation to developers and oversees their execution, and facilitates the development of common infrastructure, connected ecosystem industries, and hubs.

Given the utter novelty of the new economic industry, the Ministry of Energy and Mines has also been instructed to write supporting guidelines to back and nurture its sustainable growth in line with Oman’s Vision 2040 priorities.

Royal Decree 10/2023 fulfills a promise made by authorities at the Green Hydrogen Summit Oman 2022 forum last December to issue foundational legislation defining the powers and prerogatives of key green energy stakeholders, such as the Ministry and Hydrom, by the end of the first quarter of this year.

The Government is scheduled to issue Executive Regulations to clarify legal, transactional, and policy details of this emerging industry. Combined, the two frameworks provide substantial legal assurance to foreign investors taking the plunge into Oman’s burgeoning green hydrogen sector, say experts.

Hydrom’s first land auction for large-scale green hydrogen projects will represent the next major step in Oman’s rapid decarbonization. This round offers two 320-square-kilometer blocks in the Wilayat of Duqm in Al Wusta Governorate.

As of mid-January 2023, 180 international investors had registered on Hydrom’s platform for Oman’s green hydrogen program. Almost 50 companies had submitted a Request for Qualifications (RfQ) to participate in the auction. Hydrom called the response “encouraging and in line with original expectations” after an unspecified number cleared the qualification stage and began preparing their final offers.

Hydrom, a subsidiary of Energy Development Oman (EDO), delineates government-owned land areas and structures large-scale world-class green hydrogen projects, manages their allocation to developers, and helps develop common infrastructure and connected ecosystems in industries and hubs in close collaboration with the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ).

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