Annually, 55000 vessels pass through the Strait of Hurmuz and according to the statistics, they demand 16-17m ton of fuel in this region to continue the voyage.
Therefore, it inevitably encourages the Persian Gulf states to enter the related markets. It goes without saying that located in Iran and Qeshm Island in particular; enjoy a unique and strategic location. However, to present a transparent image of the Qeshm bunkering opportunities, MANA correspondent run an interview with Mr. Ahmad Sarkandi, the managing director of Qeshm Star Bunkering and Shipping Company which is a subsidiary of IRISL and is supposed to operate a bankering site and a refinery in Qeshm Island in near future.
Could you give a brief history of your company and the main purpose of establishing the company?
It was established in 2008 to set up bunkering facilities including a refinery in Qeshm Island which is located in Persian Gulf. Qeshm Island and Salakh area in particular is on the route of the vessels passing through the Strait of Hurmuz. The vessels normally divert to Fujairah to receive bunkering services and it takes 18 hours for the ships to get to Fujairah. Hence, IRISL top management projected to establish bunkering facilities in Salakh area as a strategic location and save the time for the vessels and provide them with good services.
In fact, it takes only two or three miles away in Strait of Hurmuz to reach Salakh area in Qeshm Island and considering the fact that reaching Fujairah needs diversion and 18 hours of time, Salakh bunkering is quite economical. Therefore, the decision was made to move forward with the project.
The first phase is to become operational within next three months. The facilities have been installed and we need to make sure they are working properly.The second phase is open to investors. Land is ready and the refinery is supposed to produce 50.000bpd.
The refinery is to produce the fuel that is necessary for the process of bunkering. For the first phase, we constructed 10 storages tanker with the capacity of 5600 MT each. This translates into total capacity of 56000 ton of storage tank for the heavy oil, gas oil and heavier oils and blended products.
Any other facilities to provide services?
We have had meetings with Khaybar Company which is specialized in bunkering associated services ranging from spares, provisions to marine oils and lubrications etc. we have come on an agreement in which Kahybar company is supposed to provide the ships with the above-,mentioned services. We allocated space for the company to build up a sufficient space for the provisions any spare parts along with other requirements to be stored and deliver service to the vessels through bunkering. In other word, we intend to present the vessels with a full chain of services to save time for them.
We are also negotiating with Qeshm Island Free Zone Organizations for hoteling the crews and provide flight for them to their destinations from Qeshm Island with no visa requirement. The studies have been conducted and the land is allocated to this project too. In fact there is a good opportunity for the foreign investors to enter in this realm too. We have already negotiated with many of them and have been studying the offered conditions. Some of them have shown great interest; however, we are open to any new foreign investor to participate in the plan.
What are the development plans?
We have constructed a berthing possibilities with 2 main break waters and another side one forming a calm basin in which vessels receive bunkering services directly from shore facilities and I hasten to add that 90 % of the job is done.
The length of the main break water is 1620m and at the moment, 1200m of the break water is completed. The side break waters are as lengthy as 690m and 400m is completed. There is going to be 7 berths inside the basin while six of them can receive the vessels with capacity of 10.000 MT and one can serve the vessels with 35000 MT of capacity.
The basins are 12m deep which enable them to accept 35.000 MT vessels. There are also pillars to facilitate anchorage for ships and receive bunkering services safely.
As I said, on the shore side we operate 10 storage tanks with total capacity of 56.000 which is going to increase to 500.000 MT. We gradually increase the capacity of the tank according to the demands. However, in the starting point, we can offer services to five ships.
The refinery provides fuel directly to the ships. It also can produce bitumen and other relevant oil products to be exported.As you know, by 2017 IMO law demands low-Sulphur fuel and this refinery is planned to less Sulphur in the fuel for the vessels in accordance with the law.