Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Omani Renewable Energy and Clean Hydrogen Law

In a first of its kind, Oman has recently issued a royal decree (RD 10/2023: Allocating Some Lands for the Purposes of Renewable Energy and Clean Hydrogen Projects) in response to the fast-growing hydrogen power sector and the nation’s desire to become a global hydrogen export powerhouse. 

The Royal Decree follows from the establishment of the state-backed hydrogen energy company in early 2022, Hydrogen Oman Company (Hydrom), and the directives from His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, which called for effective institutional and regulatory foundations to be laid to support the growth of a future green hydrogen economy in Oman. Oman is targeting the production of around 1 million tonnes per annum of green hydrogen by 2030. 

The Decree comes less than two months before Hydrom is set to award the first two land blocks at the end of the maiden round of a competitive auction process over land allocations for mega green energy projects. Final offers for a pair of land blocks currently being auctioned by Hydrom are due middle of March 2023, with an award likely by end of April 2023. The successful bidders in the auction process will secure a block each of 320 sq km in Duqm to develop all phases of their green hydrogen projects. 

The Decree with its eight articles identifies those lands, by way of masterplan attached to the Decree, that will be allocated for the purposes of renewable energy and clean hydrogen projects. The Decree also sets out the responsibilities and duties of Hydrom in the allocation and division of the lands, which include the grant of usufruct of the lands to Hydrom (Article III) and the responsibility and duty of Hydrom to contract with others to use the divided lands for the purposes of renewable energy and clean hydrogen projects by way of an auction (Article IV). 

Such provisions are in confirmation and governance of the auction process that is currently underway. Supporting guidelines to the Decree in the form of Executive Regulations from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals are expected to follow. 

With a leading and well-renowned Green Hydrogen legal team, both nationally and internationally, Curtis is well placed to provide any required legal support in the fast-paced and ever-evolving green hydrogen economy sector. 

Curtis offers free seminars to interested clients on all aspects of the industry, and can tailor a seminar based on individual requirements. Please contact Curtis if this should be of interest.


Monday, March 27, 2023

Regulatory Framework for Virtual Assets

 As Oman’s financial market regulator, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) plays an important role in ensuring the stability of the country’s financial system. With the rise in popularity of virtual assets such as cryptocurrencies, the CMA has indicated its intention to establish a regulatory framework to address the unique risks and challenges presented by these new types of assets. 

Establishing a regulatory framework for the virtual asset industry in Oman will likely provide greater clarity and certainty for investors and businesses operating in this space, and help prevent any fraudulent or illicit activities. The CMA’s efforts to regulate this industry will also likely attract more investment and promote innovation in the virtual asset sector. 

Under the proposed framework, virtual asset service providers will be required to: 

  • obtain a license from the Central Bank of Oman, 
  • comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism regulations, 
  • implement robust security measures, and 
  • maintain adequate levels of capital and insurance. 

The proposed regulatory framework also includes provisions for investor protection, market integrity, and transparency, such as requirements for disclosure of information, fair treatment of investors, and measures to prevent market manipulation. 

Overall, the establishment of a regulatory framework for virtual assets in Oman is a positive development. The framework will be welcomed by both investors and the sector if it strikes a balance between protecting investors, and ensuring the continued growth and development of this important and rapidly evolving industry, while also protecting the integrity of the financial system.


Monday, March 20, 2023

In the Pipeline: New Labour Law Moving Closer to Enactment

The eagerly anticipated replacement for the current Labour Law, RD 35/2003 (enacted in 2003), is progressing closer to enactment. In early March 2023, the Majlis A’Shura completed its review of the law and submitted proposed amendments and additions to some articles of the draft law. The draft Labour Law is now with the State Council to be further considered and progressed. Curtis will keep its clients updated and provide a full summary and analysis of the new law once it comes into force.