Singapore’s Sembcorp Utilities, a subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries, has formed a joint venture with Oman’s Takamul Investment Company (Takamul) to build utility facilities for the Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The joint venture company, called Centralised Utilities Company (CUC), will provide centralised utilities such as power, steam, water, sewage treatment and logistics facilities. CUC will have an initial share capacity of RO1m ($3.2m). The joint-venture agreement was signed on 19 May in Muscat.

Takamul holds 65 per cent of shares in the joint venture, while Sembcorp holds the remaining 35 per cent. Takamul is a subsidiary of the state backed Oman Oil Company.

Duqm SEZ has a total land area of 1,777 square kilometres and an 80km coastline. The development of SEZ is scheduled to be completed over three phases until 2025.

The Duqm scheme is the second major project that Sembcorp has undertaken in the sultanate. Also on 19 May, the Singaporean firm officially opened the Salalah independent water and power project (IWPP) in the southern governorate of Dhofar.

The Salalah IWPP began commercial operation in May 2012. The gas-fired power plant has a total generation capacity of 490MW and the seawater desalination component has a total water production capacity of 15 million gallons a day. The Singaporean developer will provide power to the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) for a period of 15 years.

The project is part of the sultanate’s efforts to boost generation capacity and reduce power shortages, which blighted the country in 2011. OPWP is also planning to build an independent power project (IPP), Salalah 2, to further boost generation capacity in southern areas of Oman. The project is expected to have a capacity of 230-400MW and is due to be commissioned in 2016.

In February, eight companies submitted prequalification entries for the IPP project. The IPP will be developed adjacent to the existing power station of Dhofar Power Company (DPC), which is majority owned by the local  Electricity Holding Company.

According to data from OPWP, peak power demand in the Salalah-area system is anticipated to rise by 10 per cent annually from 348MW in 2011 to 690MW in 2018.