The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) is planning to tender contracts for five independent water projects (IWPs) in 2014, as it seeks to boost the country’s desalinated water capacity.

In its latest 7-year statement, covering the years 2014 to 2020, OPWP has set out plans to issue tenders for five IWPs before the end of 2014, which will add a total capacity of 116 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD) to the sultanate’s desalination sector when fully commissioned.

The majority of the new capacity will be provided through three new projects located in the Muscat Interconnected System (MIS), the sultanate’s main grid, and will boost capacity by 107MIGD.

The planned projects include the 44MIGD Qurayyat IWP, for which 12 developers submitted prequalification entries in October 2013. The Qurayyat plant, to be located just south of the capital Muscat, will use reverse osmosis (RO) technology and OPWP is planning to tender and award the contract in 2014.

The largest project planned is the Suwayq IWP, planned to have a RO capacity of up to 50MIGD, which is set to be located in Al-Suwayq, although an alternative site may be selected. OPWP is planning to tender the contract in 2014, and is targeting a contract award in early 2015.

While the Suwayq scheme is provisionally planned as an IWP, it may be developed as an independent water and power project (IWPP) in combination with a proposed independent power project (IPP). Due to a forecasted shortfall of electricity by mid-2017, OPWP is planning to install an additional generation capacity of at least 2,600MW by 2018, and is currently looking at sites in Ibri, Sohar and Al-Suwayq.

The third planned water scheme in the MIS is the phase 2 of the Barka 1 IWP. The project will expand the existing RO capacity by 13MIGD. The contract is expected to be awarded in 2014, and is scheduled for commercial operation in 2015.

The proposed projects in the MIS have been designed to cope with the forecasted increase in demand, which will increase by 6 per cent a year over the next 7 years, from 238 million cubic metres to 349 million cubic metres in 2020.

OPWP is also planning to develop two smaller IWPs in the Musandam governorate and the Ad Duqm industrial zone. The Khasab IWP, planned in Musandam, will have a RO capacity of 3MIGD and is expected to be tendered in 2014, with an anticipated commissioning date in the fourth quarter of 2015.

For the Duqm IWP, OPWP is planning to oversee the development of a 6MIGD IWP, which will utilise RO technology. OPWP is planning to issue the tender for the project in the fourth quarter of 2014, and plans to commission the project in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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