The UK’s Mott MacDonaldhas drawn up the initial studies for the plant, which is expected to generate between 400-450 MW of power and process up to 65 million gallons a day of water. The plant, to be located in Sohar’s industrial area, is expected to come on stream in 2005 (Oman, MEED Special Report, 26:4:02, pages 31-32).

Oman’s other independent power projects (IPPs) commissioned under the government’s fast-track privatisation programme are Al-Kamil, Barka and Salalah. These facilities account for some 940 MW of new capacity in total. Al-Kamil is due on stream this year and will be followed in the first quarter of 2003 by Salalah and Barka. The construction of a fourth IPP in Sohar is intended to meet rising demand, which is growing at a rate of 3.6 per cent a year.

The government had considered increasing supplies through the privatisation of the sultanate’s three large-scale generating companies that operate the Ghubrah, Rusayl and Wadi Jizzi plants. However, Al-Mahrouqi said there will be no requirement for the successor companies to invest in building additional capacity.

The privatisation of the unbundled assets of the Ministry of Housing, Electricity & Water is expected to begin in early 2003 following the final approval of a sector law governing the regulation of all the key elements of the system, namely: generation, dispatch, procurement and production of electricity and related desalinated water. The government is currently reviewing the third of five draft documents of the legislation. A team of ABN AMRO, Denton Wilde Sapteand Mott MacDonald is advising the government on the privatisation (MEED 22:3:02).