Following a reassessment of a proposed Independent Power and Water Project (“IWPP”) at the Al Ghubrah site, the Oman Power and Water Company (“OPWP”) is preparing to initiate a competition for a major, 1500MW Independent Power Project (“IPP”) on the industrial estate at Sur. Subject to securing the necessary environmental and regulatory consents, OPWP expects to issue a Request for Proposals for the 1500MW IPP around the beginning of August 2010. The RfP will invite proposals for around 400MW of early power ahead of summer peak demand in 2013 and full commissioning of 1500MW ahead of 2014 summer peak demand.
OPWP had originally proposed a new IWPP at the Al Ghubrah site to take advantage of existing infrastructure and allow older plant to be retired to improve environmental compliance at the site. However, in line with best international environmental practices, the Sultanate is seeking to locate new power stations away from residential areas. Subject to securing environmental consent, a large scale reverse osmosis technology water project of around 40MIGD will be developed at the Al Ghubrah site to safeguard growing water demand requirements in the Muscat region and further improve environmental conditions at the site.
Confirming plans for a 1500MW IPP at Sur, OPWP CEO Bob Whitelaw said “The proposed location on the industrial site at Sur is ideal for the development of a large scale power plant”:• A large site, ready for construction, with good access to the sea is readily available;• Gas will be available by tapping into the existing pipeline feeding the Oman LNG plant which runs on the outskirts of the proposed site; and• OETC is already implementing projects to reinforce the transmission system around Sur which will allow power to be efficiently exported to the Main Interconnected System.
Whitelaw added “Implementation of the proposed Sur IPP follows recent confirmation by the Oil and Gas Ministry Under-Secretary, His Excellency Nasser bin Khamis al Jashmi, that the power sector would receive priority over the allocation of Oman’s gas resources. This reinforces the Government’s commitment to the long term development of the electricity sector in which private sector investment plays a key role. Since the market restructuring in 2005 the electricity and related water sector has benefited from public and private sector investment with significant levels of foreign direct investment in power and water production facilities. In addition to increased infrastructure investment, the electricity market reforms have helped secure improvements in the efficiency of gas use and major reductions in system losses. The 1500MW Sur IPP further reinforces the Government’s commitment to meeting the Sultanate’s fast growing electricity requirements to facilitate and support further economic growth.”