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Oman to drastically cut down HCFC uses by 2020

Industry expert provides overview of Sultanate’s refrigerant reduction policy

| | Apr 25, 2019 | 9:28 am
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Dr M Ramaswamy

Dubai, UAE, 25 April 2019: Oman will drastically cut down the consumption of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2020, said Dr M Ramaswamy, Technical Expert – Royal Estates, Royal Court Affairs, Sultanate of Oman, who provided an overview of the national strategy being rolled out by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) for the phase-out of HCFCs/HFCs, under which various policy measures will be implemented.

Providing a background on the policies that are currently in place, Dr Ramaswamy said that regulatory measures include the ban on the import of bulk HCFC-141b by 2016, and the import of HCFC-141b-based pre-blended polyols by December 2017, and the use and import of refrigerants in disposable containers. Further, there will be regulation on the venting of refrigerants into the atmosphere during servicing, he said, adding that the country will be establishing a mandatory refrigerants recovery and recycling protocol by January 1, 2020. “Oman will establish quarterly reporting on the recovered, recycled and reused refrigerants and stock of unusable refrigerants by January 1, 2020,” he said.

The phase-out of harmful refrigerants, Dr Ramaswamy added, is being carried out in cooperation with United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).  Discussing the implementation of the second stage of the strategy, he said Oman will phase out 5.32 Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) tonnes of HCFCs, resulting in a 35% reduction by 2020. “Oman’s HCFC consumption of 20.38 ODP tonnes in 2014 was lower than the maximum allowable consumption proposed by Oman of 28.32 ODP tonnes for 2015-18 and 20.46 ODP tonnes for 2019-20,” he said. “UNIDO clarified that the lower consumption in 2014 was due to large amounts of HCFCs imported in 2011 and 2012, as stocks for use in subsequent years.” He added that the use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b to produce extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam, and the use of bulk HCFC-141b in the polyurethane (PU) foam manufacturing sector has been fully phased out.

Dr Ramaswamy added that under the second stage, licencing of all entities handling ODS in the refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) sector will be implemented by January 1, 2020, which includes importers, distributors, retailers and service workshops. “In addition, Oman will consider development of mandatory leak-detection of all controlled substances in RAC systems with initial charge greater than three kilogrammes,” he said. “Refrigerant identifiers will be purchased for customs and environment inspectors, and training will be provided on ODS identification and prevention of illegal import.” Dr Ramaswamy said that according to UNIDO, the stage two will also provide training to 20 nationals and about 1,000 RAC technicians. Nine training institutes will be provided with equipment to facilitate training, he added. The effectiveness of the certification scheme established under stage I will also be further evaluated, he further added.

Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at hannah@cpi-industry.com

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