The 600MW plant will be built on the same site as an existing 450MW state-owned facility, the oldest in the sultanate.

The existing facility’s turbines, some of which are up to 30 years old, will be demolished to make room for the new plant. The IWPP will include a 25 million-gallon-a-day reverse osmosis desalination plant. The two plants will have a combined capacity of 800MW once completed. They will work independently, sharing only the infrastructure for seawater, which is used for cooling, and links to the power transmission network.

The UK’s Mott MacDonald is carrying out the feasibility studies.

The new plant, like the existing one, will be gas-fired. “It will use the same gas allocation as the current Al-Ghubrah plant,” says a source at OPWP.

The plant is due to come on line in 2012, one year after the planned Barka 3 IWPP.

OPWP plans to issue an invi-tation for prequalification for the 700MW, 26 million gallon-a-day Barka 3 plant within two months.

Bank Muscat is the financial adviser on the project. Switzerland’s Electrowatt and the UK’s Berwin Leighton Paisner are the technical and legal consultants.

OPWP also expects to award the contract for a feasibility study that will evaluate the use of alternatives to natural gas as feedstock for power plants by the end of June (MEED 6:5:08).