Oman’s $3B Railroad Plan to Blunt Iran Oil Risk
From The Daily Star
By Deena Kamel Yousef
Oman, which faces Iran across the Strait of Hormuz, said it’s poised to start raising cash for a $3 billion rail line offering an alternative route for oil and freight shipments that funnel through the 21 mile-wide channel. The nation of 3.3 million people, located on the southern side of the strait, is considering issuing bonds by the end of 2014 to kick-start funding for the track across some of the Arabian peninsula’s harshest terrain, Abdul-Rahman al-Hatmi, a director at Oman National Railway Co., said in an interview.
Iranian threats to close the Hormuz waterway have been a recurrent theme in Western relations with the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution. While tensions have begun to ease after an interim deal aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program, Hatmi said the “very expensive” rail line is more than justified by the new trade opportunities bypassing the strait would offer Oman’s southern port of Salalah.
“We are moving fast now,” he said at a rail conference in Dubai. “One of the key changes we’ve made is to connect to Salalah, which is the mouth of the whole region and will play a major role in transforming the whole logistics map.”
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