The second largest petrochemical, oil and gas hub in the UAE boasts a flourishing investment climate for tank terminal operators and acts as a crucial gateway for global trade
The Hamriyah Free Zone is positioned in one of the most promising regions for future global oil and gas markets and its growth trajectory makes it an attractive destination for international trade.
The Free Zone in Sharjah, which is considered to be one of the fastest growing in the Middle East, sits on a 22 square kilometre parcel of land and its oil and gas zone has access to a 14 meter deep water port and an extensive pipeline network to several storage operators within the area.
Uniquely located at the intersection between three continents the Free Zone can take advantage of several international trade routes, connecting energy supply from the east to the west. MENA countries account for 58% of proven global crude oil reserves, making it a key region for future global oil markets.
Since its inception by an Emiri decree in 1995, the area has become a primary industrial hub for oil and gas, petrochemicals, steel, construction,
food and maritime, and a planned phase three expansion will increase land availability to 30 square kilometres.
In addition, work is planned to expand the port to increase the number of berths, allowing it to handle any type of cargo.
In an interview with Tank Storage Magazine Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, director, Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, says that the port expansion will further enhance its market offering across many energy sectors.
‘This will give a big boost to our petrochemical, chemical, oil and gas sectors since much of the bulk trade happens through our sea port.
‘Our unique location between three continents connected to 230 cities by land, sea and air allow our investors to serve a market of two billion people and this continues to grow. Hamriyah Free Zone is considered to be one of the fastest growing free zones in the Middle East and it is a gateway to global business.
‘Our oil and gas zone caters to downstream projects, where crude oil is converted into finished products and provides integrated solutions in refinery, petrochemical and power generation segments.’
Despite global challenges in energy markets and economic slowdown in some regions executives at the Free Zone have witnessed solid investments across all segments. Last October, the Sharafco Petroleum Terminal started operations with a $100 million terminal, comprising 80,000 m3 of capacity
spread across 16 tanks. It represents the company’s first step towards international market trading, with tanks being leased predominately to global multinational companies.
Additionally, the Arya Group, which has a 50,000 m3 terminal connected to Hamriyah’s port, also plans to expand its capacity by 100,000 m3 and India’s Radiant Group, a manufacturing company for alternate petroleum products, are set to open a new oil distillation plant in mid-2017.
Other operators within the free zone include Sharlu, OBN Oil, Universal Lubricants and Gulf Petrochem.
Mazrouei adds: ‘Several companies within the free zone have expanded their operations and others are looking at doing so in the future, which reinforces the fact the Hamriyah Free Zone is the ideal hub.
‘A steady acquisition rate has helped Hamriyah Free Zone Authority to think ahead and initiate many strategic initiatives and projects despite several global challenges.’
Such initiatives within its oil and gas zone include improvements to its pipeline network, automation of its port facilities, infrastructure improvements, construction of an onsite lab and product testing facility as well as implementation of the latest environmental, health and safety guidelines.
‘Hamriyah offers close proximity to major global markets and has connectivity through land, air and sea,’ Al Mazrouei explains.
‘Companies based in Hamriyah serve both global and regional clients. The area also has an abundant availability of land and offering low cost energy and water makes us unique and gives us a unique edge over our competition. We continually work toward achieving business excellence to make Hamriyah Free Zone as the most attractive business destination for the UAE.
‘Despite global challenges we have seen continuous growth in business. We aim to become the most attractive business destination and leading business hub in the region.’