Oman releases report on Sohar 1 stoppage
Authorities reveal reason behind two outages at power and water plant in May
Oman’s Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER) has released a report on the formal investigation into the loss of power and water production at Sohar 1 Power and Desalination Plant, which resulted in critical interruption of water supply in North Al Batinah on May 5 and 19.
At a press conference last week, officials released the report which includes recommendations to prevent the recurrence of such an incident.
“The Sohar incident caused extensive water shortage in North Al Batinah Governorate and caused much distress to the public. The authority conducted a formal investigation into the incident and is making the report available for public inspection,” said Qais Saud Al Zakwani, executive director and member of the authority.
The main cause of the incident was a rupture of the seawater supply pipe to the Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic) facilities on May 3. This caused flooding in the seawater intake area and the local switchgear and control room for the SPC seawater supply pumps with the water level reaching 1 to 1.5 metres above ground, revealed the report.
Although the plant remained operational while dewatering was in progress, the power plant tripped on May 5 resulting in loss of power and the desalination of water. The seawater remained for around three days and in all probability this led to the loss or compromise of the cable insulation integrity.
The loss of the seawater supply had a direct impact on the shutting of the Sohar Power and Desalination Plant. As the plant is the only major source of desalinated water in North Al Batinah governorate, any disruption has serious consequences for the well-being of the people who rely on this as the only source of potable water.
The authority said that it would act to ensure that all of the recommendations/actions are implemented by the SPC in order to avoid a recurrence of similar incidents. Furthermore, the authority will issue recommendations to other existing power generation and desalination plants to avoid similar incidents and direct the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company to include specific requirements to be considered during the design of future projects.