Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP) is moving ahead with a study for an independent water and power project (IWPP) at Duqm.

“The study is primarily looking at the next option for power in Duqm,” says a source at OPWP. “It will determine whether a new project at Duqm will or will not be connected with the Main Interconnected System (MIS). It will also consider the size of the new project, timing and fuel.”

Oman power demand (MW)
Year MW
2009 3,424
2010 3,800
2011e 4,304
2012f 4,746
2013f 5,065
2014f 5,411
2015f 5,757
2016f 6,043
e=Estimate; f=Forecast. Source: OPWP

The size of the new project will determine whether the project will be connected to MIS or remain a separate power island serving the electricity demand of the Duqm area. “It [would be] a long – and expensive – connection, so it would only make sense [to link the project to MIS] if there was a lot of demand in Duqm,” says the OPWP source.

If OPWP goes ahead with connecting the project and the consequent grid reinforcements, it has the potential to link up villages along the transmission route to MIS.

The new Duqm facility may be an independent power project (IPP) or IWPP. “If it is decided that it is economically beneficial to combine water with the power project, then it will proceed as one project as an IWPP. If not, then it will be done separately and the new project will be power-only,” says the OPWP source.

If the project proceeds according to schedule, a request for proposals (RFP) could be issued by the end of 2011 or early 2012. This would be the second time that an IWPP has been tendered at Duqm.

The original project was cancelled in March 2010 when OPWP decided to review several aspects of the project including feedstock, location and capacity. The news followed an announcement by OPWP in February 2010 saying it was considering building the project as a gas-fired facility rather than using coal as a feedstock as originally planned. The announcement was seen as a U-turn in Oman’s fuel policy.