Work on the project’s Bausher section, which lies between the airport and Hamriyah, will now be split into four packages.

China’s Sinohydro Corporation, which won the original contract to build the 700-kilometre wastewater collection network has had its scope halved, with the remaining three packages valued at approximately OR130m ($388m).

The contract was due to be completed by the end of 2007, however, spiralling material costs, regulatory complications and the impact of Cyclone Gonu has hampered progress.

“We split the work into packages because we realised they would never be able to complete it,” said a source at OWSC.

The source added that, following Cyclone Gonu, which hit the sultanate’s coast in June 2007, Sinohydro terminated the contract citing force majeure and made a OR25m ($65m) claim against OWSC for delays it had experienced. The company was awarded OR11m.