The US’ PB Power has commenced a study for an independent water and power project (IWPP) at Duqm for Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP), just 15 months after cancelling plans for an IWPP in the area.

The study is to determine whether a new project at Duqm, on the east coast of Oman, will be connected with the Main Interconnected System (MIS), which serves the majority of the country. It will also consider the size of the new project, timing of its development and fuel source for the plant.

The size of the new project will determine whether it is connected to the MIS or remain a separate power island serving the electricity demand of the Duqm area.

If OPWP goes ahead with connecting the project and the consequent grid reinforcements, it has the potential to link up villages along the transmission route to the MIS.

The new Duqm facility may be an independent power project (IPP) or IWPP depending on commercial viability.

The study is set to be completed by the end of the summer. If the project proceeds according to schedule, a request for proposals (RFP) could be issued by the end of 2011 or early 2012. This would be the second time that an IWPP has been tendered at Duqm.

The original project was cancelled in March 2010 when OPWP decided to review several aspects of the project including feedstock, location and capacity. The news followed an announcement by OPWP in February 2010 saying it was considering building the project as a gas-fired facility rather than using coal as a feedstock as originally planned. The announcement was seen as a U-turn in Oman’s fuel policy.