The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) has invited firms to submit expressions of interest (EOI) for the contract to develop its next independent water project (IWP).

The Qurayyat IWP will have a capacity of up to 46 million gallons a day, or 207,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d), and will be located just south of the capital city of Muscat.

Demand for water in the sultanate increased at a faster rate than anticipated in 2012, prompting the Public Authority of Electricity & Water (PAEW) to revise the capacity building plans for water projects. Water demand in the northern region, which includes the Main Interconnected System (MIS), Sur Zone and Duqm zone, is expected to increase by 6 per cent a year, from 597,430 cm/d in 2012 to 866,00 cm/d in 2019. In the southern Salalah region, water demand is also expected to grow at a rate of 6 per cent, from 61,000 cm/d in 2012 to 88,000 cm/d in 2019.

In February 2013, a consortium led by Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation signed the contract to develop an independent water project (IWP) at Ghubrah, located in the Muscat governorate.

Sumitomo, along with Spain’s Cadagua and Malaysia’s Malakoff International, signed the contract on 11 February to establish a project company that will obtain a licence to build, own and operate (BOO) the 191,000 cm/d plant. Sumitomo and Malakoff will each have a 45 per cent holding in the project, with Cadagua holding the remainder.

As part of the sultanate’s efforts to expand its desalination capacity, the Barka 1 IWPP is being expanded by 45,000 cm/d. Acwa Power Barka, the owner of the Barka plant, awarded Spain’s Abengoa a $55m contract to expand the plant in late 2012. The expansion work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.