In numbers

3,424MW: Main Interconnected System peak demand in 2009

297MW: Salalah System peak demand in 2009

Source: Oman Power & Water Procurement Company

Oman Power and Water Company (OPWP) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to developers for the construction of a 1,500MW independent power project (IPP) at Sur. Interested companies have until 18 October to respond to the RFP.

OPWP had hoped to launch the tender by early-August, but the RFP was subsequently delayed.

The winning bidder will bring 400MW early power capacity online by summer 2013 to help the country meet its peak demand needs during the hot months. Full commissioning is scheduled for completion by the following summer.

OPWP had originally intended to build an independent water and power project (IWPP) at Al-Ghubrah to take advantage of existing infrastructure in the area and allow the older plant at the site to be retired. However, due to environmental impact issues associated with the Al-Ghubrah site and its proximity to residential areas in Muscat, OPWP decided to cancel the Al-Ghubrah IWPP in favour of a facility at Sur.

Sur is located south of the capital on the coastline and offers a large area, which is ready for construction and access to an existing pipeline that feeds the Oman LNG plant operating on the outskirts of the site. Further, Oman Electricity Transmission Company (OETC) is already implementing projects to reinforce the transmission system around Sur, which will allow power to be exported to the Main Interconnected System.

The advisory team that was selected to work on the shelved Al-Ghubrah plant was transferred to the Sur IPP in July. Ernst & Young, DLA Piper and British Power International, all of the UK, are now consultants on the Sur project.

Meanwhile at Al-Ghubrah, a large-scale reverse osmosis technology water project of around 40 million gallons per day is planned. OPWP is currently awaiting environmental consent to build the project, which will help the sultanate to meet growing water demand requirements in the Muscat region.

Oman is pressing ahead with an ambitious power and water programme. According to figures compiled by OPWP, peak power demand is expected to grow from 3,424MW 2009 to 6,043MW by 2016, an average increase of around 8.5 per cent or 374MW per year.

The country is already working with a marginal buffer between supply and peak demand and will need to bring additional capacity online as soon as possible. Besides the Sur project, OPWP is currently tendering for companies to install 600MW of temporary power capacity across Oman.