This plant was the region’s first public-private partnership for a power station, using the independent power project (IPP) model. Developed as a build-own-operate-transfer scheme under a 20-year power purchase agreement, the Manah IPP set a trend that continues today.

Although initially slow to follow up with a second project, Oman now has a dozen privately run power and water facilities and the model has successfully spread throughout the region.

The IPP model has been instrumental in enabling a rapid expansion of the region’s power capacity as countries strive to cope with increasing demand, and has also allowed governments to divert capital to other much-needed infrastructure.

The main contract to build the 270MW Manah IPP was awarded in 1994 and the plant began phased operations from 1996, with Oman Power & Water Procurement Company the sole off-taker.

The facility was developed and is operated by United Power Company, a special purpose vehicle originally owned 60 per cent by France’s GDF Suez and the International Finance Corporation, with 40 per cent publicly listed on the Muscat Security Market.

Ownership of the plant has since changed hands several times and is due to transfer to the government in 2020.