Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP) has appointed the UK consortium of Ernst & Young, DLA Piper and British Power International as consultants on the upcoming Sur independent water and power project (IWPP) without going through the usual tender process.

The team was previously appointed to advise on the stalled Al-Ghubra independent water in April 2009.

The reasons behind the decision to transfer the advisers on Al-Ghubra to Sur is unclear but may have been driven by the need to fast track the tender process for power generation contracts as part of the sultanate’s efforts to keep pace with rising demand.

The Al-Ghubra project was put on hold at the end of the first quarter this year due to the environmental concerns. An option to build the project as a desalination-only facility is now being considered.

While specifications for the new Sur IWPP are still under negotiation, it is likely to have a capacity in excess of 1,000MW of power.

According to figures compiled by Oman Power and Water (OPWP), peak power demand is expected to grow from 3,424MW 2009 to 6,043 MW by 2016, an average increase of around 8.5 per cent or 374MW per year.