Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP) is considering retendering the planned independent water and power project (IWPP) at Al-Ghubra as a desalination facility.

The project was put on hold pending final decision on whether it will go ahead at all as the scheme had encountered environmental concerns over the location of its proposed site.

IN NUMBERS

3,424MW: Peak power demand in Oman in 2009

6,043MW: The forecast power demand in Oman by 2016

Source: Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP)

Should the project be relaunched as a water desalination-only plant, it is expected to have a capacity of around 45 million gallons per day. Power for the facility would be sourced from the grid.

In its original form, the IWPP encountered delays from the outset. OPWP delayed the deadline for developers to express interest in the project when it became clear that there may be some environmental challenges relating to the site.

The gas-fired plant was initially planned to have a capacity of 450-600MW of power and 30 million gallons a day of desalinated water.

Meanwhile, another IWPP at Duqm is on indefinite hold while the government reviews its plans for the plant as part of an ongoing assessment of fuel diversity in Oman’s power sector.

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.

Due to the delays and possible shelving of the Al-Ghubrah and Duqm projects, another scheme at Sur near the eastern tip of the sultanate has been pushed up the agenda and a request for proposals is expected by September.