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Oman Country Focus

on May 30, 2012

Oman's power and water sectors are attracting increasing investment. (GETTY IMAGES)
Oman's power and water sectors are attracting increasing investment. (GETTY IMAGES)

Take a quick look through our Middle East Top 20 Utilities Projects this month and you’ll find three Omani projects valued at a combined $5 billion. For a population of around only three million that represents a considerable investment, and yet is unsurprising when you consider the latest projected growth figures in power and water requirements.

Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) has forecast peak electricity demand on Oman’s Main Interconnected System (MIS) to grow by an average 8% per year until 2018. This represents a significant increase from 3845 MW last year, to 6582 MW in 2018. The Salalah system will see even higher yearly growth, with forecast demand growing 10% per year over the same period.

On the water demand side the situation looks similarly challenging. Desalinated water demand outside of Salalah is predicted to increase at a rate of 5% per year until 2018, rising to a total 269 million cubic metres. Within Salalah growth is again higher at 6% per year, though demand is likely to be met by the commissioning of the Salalah IWPP plant this year.

With demand figures so considerable there is a clear need driving current project s, as well as a further $2.9 billion of investment expected to be announced at the Oman Power and Water Summit this month. Electricity supply problems are a real concern and current power plans have already seen OPWP enter into an agreement to procure 300 MW of temporary capacity from Sohar Aluminium to cover a possible shortfall over this summer’s demand peak.

The $2 billion Sur IPP is expected to contribute significantly to meeting Oman’s future energy needs, producing 2,000 MW of power when operational in 2014. The plant, alongside other power projects set to come on line soon, is said to give a significant efficiency boost in terms of gas utilisation and is expected to actually reduce total fuel consumption over 2012 levels.

Elsewhere, the Salalah IWPP facility is nearing completion and is scheduled to be connected to the grid this year. This $1 billion plant will have a capacity of 445 MW, and a desalination output of 15 million gallons per day. A second plant at the site is then planned to be added to the system in 2016.

In the renewable energy arena, Oman’s Rural Areas Electricity Authority reported earlier this year that they had undertaken six renewable energy pilots, partnering with private sector developers. The projects ranged from 200 KW to 3.5 MW, using solar and wind technologies. Two 3 MW wind-power projects are being built at Masirah and Thumrait, with a 3 MW solar plant set to be constructed in Haima in Wusta Governate.


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