Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP) is considering building a large-scale independent water and power project (IWPP) at Sur, near the eastern tip of the sultanate.

Details of the project have emerged following uncertainty over the future of two other IWPPs proposed for sites located on either side of Sur at Duqm (south) and Al-Ghubrah (north).

The Duqm IWPP is on hold indefinitely while the government reviews its plans for the plant as part of an ongoing assessment of fuel diversity in Oman’s power sector, according to sources close to the project. In February, the company said that it was considering building the project as a gas-fired facility rather than using coal as a feedstock as it had originally planned. The announcement was seen as a U-turn in Oman’s fuel policy.

OPWP is now reconsidering many other aspects associated with the project including possible siting and capacity changes.

Meanwhile, the Al-Ghubrah project is on hold pending final decision on whether it will go ahead which is expected to be taken in May. The project has been stalled by environmental concerns over its planned site.

OPWP could scrap plans to develop a project at Al-Ghubrah and build the Duqm project as a gas-fired facility with a smaller capacity than originally envisioned, while still building enough capacity to meet growing electricity demand if it develops a new project at Sur, .

Should the Sur project go ahead it is hoped that it would not face the environmental issues related to a coal-fired plant such as Duqm, or a plant to be built near residential buildings, such as Al-Ghubrah.

While specifications for the new project are still under negotiation, the Sur IWPP is likely to have a capacity in excess of 1,000MW of power. A request for proposals to build the facility may be issued in September or October 2010 if the plan is adopted.