Acwa Power Barka, the project company for Oman’s Barka 1 independent water and power project (IWPP), has signed a contract with Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP) to expand the desalination capacity of the Barka 1 plant.

Acwa Power Barka, led by Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power International, will develop the 12.5 million-imperial-gallon-a-day (MIGD) expansion of the IWPP. The capacity expansion is due to come online by 2016.

This will be the second upgrade of the desalination capacity of the plant, with the developer having recently completed a 10MIGD expansion.

The scheme is one of several desalination projects OPWP is moving ahead with to keep up with the increasing demand for water in the sultanate.

In September, OPWP received bids from six consortiums for the deal to develop the Qurayyat independent water project (IWP).

The groups that submitted are:

  • Abengoa (Spain);
  • Cobra Instalaciones Y Servicios (Spain) / Tedagua (Spain);
  • Hyflux (Singapore) / Bahwan Group (local);
  • Itochu (Japan) / Suez Degremont (France) / Muscat Overseas (local) / Douglas OHI (local);
  • Sumitomo Corporation (Japan) / Malakoff (Malaysia) / Doosan (South Korea);
  •  Acwa Power International (Saudi Arabia) / Valoriza (Spain).

The planned 44MIGD, 200,000 cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) desalination plant will be located in Qurayyat, just south of Muscat. Under the terms of the proposed project, OPWP will purchase the potable water produced by the facility under a water purchase agreement (WPA) for a period of 20 years.

OPWP is aiming to select a bidder and sign all of the project agreements by the end of 2014, and has set a start date of March 2017 for commercial operations.