Oman, Iran to launch new bilateral projects

Iran and Oman will launch a cruise route between the port cities of Bandar Abbas in Iran and Khasab in Oman from September 22, reported IRNA News Agency on Wednesday.

“The scheme will be implemented in line with the goal of widening bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, politics, and tourism,” the director of Hormozgan Province’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Department, Mohsen Ziai, told Tehran Times.

Ziai also expressed hope that the initiative would result in the growth of tourism in the province as well as further business thrive in its handicraft industry.

Earlier in July, another marine route started linking Khasab to Qeshm Island in Iran. It takes passengers one hour and a half of sailing.

On the other hand, A planned subsea natural gas pipeline between Iran and Oman is expected to have a higher estimated cost after the two countries had to change the project’s route and design to avoid waters controlled by the UAE, an industry source told Al Arabiya .

According to this Saudi website, The planned pipeline would allow Oman to use Iranian gas for domestic needs as well as to export it to global markets as LNG.
“We expect slight upward budget adjustment because of this change,” the industry source familiar with the matter said, adding the cost of the pipeline could be $1-1.5 billion after the change in the design.

The pipeline will have the capacity to carry 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcfd) but that might be raised to up to 2 bcfd because of high demand for gas in the region.

Omani and UAE officials have discussed the project but industry sources say the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has not given its blessing to the project with a route that would pass through its waters.

Last April, Al monitor titled “Oman and Iran: friends with many benefits”, and said that Oman shares the Strait of Hormuz with Iran and maintains cordial relations with Tehran, despite the former’s membership in the mostly anti-Iranian Gulf Cooperation Council .

It added, “Oman has new opportunities to position itself as an increasingly important trade corridor which will facilitate Oman’s assertion of an independent foreign policy rooted in the nation’s unique history as the center of an Indian Ocean empire”.