The Business Year

Ard Van Hoof

OMAN - Energy & Mining

Ard Van Hoof

CEO, Oman Tank Terminal Company (OTTCO)

Bio

With 25 years of international and commercial experience in the energy industry, Ard Van Hoof is responsible for implementing OTTCO’s strategy and positioning the company as Oman’s independent tank storage network company. Prior to joining OQ/OTTCO, he held several management/leadership positions in the tank storage industry across various countries, of which the last 12 years were with Royal Vopak. Van Hoof holds a master’s degree in economics and international business management from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

OTTCO has transformed from a project company to one operating, owning, and maintaining a network of pipelines and assets in Oman.

What have been OTTCO’s primary objectives over the past few years?

OTTCO was established in 2013 with the purpose of developing a crude oil park in Ras Markaz. OTTCO has transformed from a project company to one operating, owning, and maintaining a network of pipelines and assets in Oman. With that change of positioning, our main focus is in Duqm and Ras Markaz. Nevertheless, we also have an ambition to look at other terminals in Oman. In the past, our terminals have accommodated liquid or gaseous flows for a plant, a dedicated infrastructure, though there is an opportunity to optimize the use of those facilities and commercialize them. We want to achieve cost optimization through general costs’ sharing. We are looking into combining products into one terminal each with their dedicated infrastructure but, at the same time, sharing the costs. Our offshore facilities were completed recently in Ras Markaz. The other big achievement of last year is that we reached 5,000 million free hours of Lost Time Injury (LTI). It also shows that a facility like Ras Markaz can be built in a safe and efficient way.

How do you plan on gaining recognition internationally as the leading storage facility in the region?

We have a solid geopolitical location and offer security of supply. There are many initiatives and tax incentives to attract businesses that will benefit our customers, which one cannot find in other ports. In that sense, we have a unique selling point. In addition, our vision is to operate from an extremely cost-efficient perspective. As part of the government, in terms of permits and tax incentives, the risks for us are more manageable. In Ras Markaz, we have 1 SPMS, but we can expand up to 5 SPMs. The competition in the Gulf is fierce, and our biggest challenge is to inspire trust as a reliable port for Duqm and Ras Markaz. We store liquid or gaseous products, mainly in the oil side, though with the whole new green developments in alternative energy there are many opportunities. Oman is one of the five countries that have the perfect conditions for hydrogen, which is generated by solar and wind.

Diversification is part of Oman’s Vision 2040, so will you be able to serve these alternative fuels?

The terminal business has different types of terminals, and the ones that import and export act as distribution centers. Then, there are LPG terminals that are different because they need tanks to deal with the high pressure and low temperature, so it is more complex, and investment is fairly high. There are also five hub locations in the world that serve imports and exports, though in many cases the price is set in those locations. The last terminal type is industrial, whereby you build a facility such as a refinery or hydrogen plant, which are long-term investments, and with a pipeline connection to the tank you are basically married for life—you cannot reroute pipes to another facility. This provides a steady business revenue.

How will increasing the storage capacity impact the Duqm area and interest in the port as well?

There is a great deal of effort being done by the government to develop and promote Duqm. Also, with the refinery being built and other initiatives as well, Duqm will grow, though it will take time. Initially, when we started with this project in 2013, it was all on paper. Now, we can display our facilities and other projects in the city, as Duqm is an interesting place to live in. Things are moving rapidly, but trust needs to be built. People need to have jobs to be lured to moving there.

What are your main targets for the next 12 months?

If you look at our projects, they are usually long term. We will finish this one in two to three years, and other projects will take 10 years. The main short-term goal is to create customer interest, though it is also important that we have a connection to the main oil pipeline in Oman. It is not yet connected to Ras Markaz, and we have done studies and business cases, and now we need to choose a strategy to have that connection. This way, we can create an additional gateway to export of crude. We are also focusing on alternative energy, as there are many projects being announced, so we need to provide the best storage solution possible.

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