Plans for the construction of Sharjah's first independent power project (IPP) are still under consideration despite Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (SEWA) beginning work on a new 500-MW power plant adjacent to the Hamriyah Free Zone. Speaking on the sidelines of the Port of Sohar conference in Muscat on 15-16 November, organised jointly by MEED and Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC), Rashid al-Leem, director-general of the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA), said that the IPP had not been shelved (MEED 2:9:05).
'The new [SEWA] plant will partly service Hamriyah, but we [HFZA] will need an additional 1,000 MW over the coming five years,' Al-Leem told MEED. 'The Sharjah government has still to approve the idea of an IPP and in the meantime SEWA says it can cater to our needs, but I think it will have to do it in the end.' HFZA has already signed an initial memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a group led by the UK's C&C Sonsto set up the plant. HFZA is keen to push forward with its power plans as it aims to attract an increasing number of heavy industry companies to the zone. Muscat-based Oman Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Company (OCPC)has already signed an estimated $200 million agreement to build a 1.2 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) ammonia and urea plant in the free zone, while Saudi Arabia's Al-Tuwairqi Group (ATG)is planning to set up a steel complex. India's Essaris also understood to have signed an MoU to establish a steel facility in Hamriyah. Extra power generation will also be required for the free zone expansion, which is set to start in 2006. The free zone currently covers an area of 10 million square metres and has a 14-metre-deep port with three berths and a pontoon facility. It houses about 850 companies.