• Desalination projects will be located at sites in Barka and Sohar
  • Combined capacity will be over 100 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD)
  • Developers have until 24 March to submit prequalification entries

The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) has invited companies to prequalify for its next two independent water projects (IWPs).

OPWP has invited developer to submit prequalification entries by 24 March to contracts to develop IWPs at Barka and Sohar, which will have a combined total capacity of 531,000 cubic metres a day (116.8 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD)).

The state utility recently issued a tender for seawater circulation studies at the Barka site with the intention of developing a third desalination plant at the site. The IWP is also expected to have a capacity of 50 MIGD to 80 MIGD.

Acwa Power Barka, part owned by Saudi developer Acwa Power, signed a water purchase agreement (WPA) with OPWP in late 2014 to expand the capacity of the existing Barka 1 independent water and power project (IWPP) by 12.5 MIGD.

Sharqiyah Desalination Company, in which French firm Veolia hold the largest stake, is also expanding its Sur IWP by 50,000 cm/d. It completed negotiations with OPWP in January 2015 and expects to reach a financial close in March. The new capacity is scheduled to come online in September.

“In Oman, they know they need a very steep ramp-up of desalination capacity, as 60 per cent of the population is not connected to water networks,” says Xavier Joseph, CEO of Veolia Gulf Countries. “And the IWP model, in which 30-40 per cent of the project company is issued as a public offering, is very interesting to us.”

In Oman’s Main Interconnected System (MIS) and Sur Zone, water demand is expected to increase by 6 per cent a year, from 238 million cubic metres in 2013 to 349 cubic metres in 2020.

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