AES Corp. of the United States on Sunday won a 411-million-dollar contract for the construction and operation of an electricity and water desalination plant in Oman, officials said.
The contract was signed in Muscat by the US company, which will have a 25-year concession from the scheduled start-up of April 2003 in a joint venture with local private firms.
The gas turbine plant at Barka, 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital, will generate 427 megawatts and have a water desalination capacity of 20 million US gallons (76 million liters) per day.
Under the contract, the government will purchase the Barka plant's output for 15 years and the project partners will sell 25 percent of the shares to the public after the fourth year.
The project is part of "the government's efforts to associate the local and foreign private sector in the construction, management and financing of services" in Oman, National Economy Minister Ahmad bin Abdul Nabi Mekki said at the signing.
Barka is the second venture in the Omani government's fast-track power privatization program, following the award of an independent power project being developed by Britain's National Power in Al-Kamil, south of Muscat.
The 1996 award was the first of its kind for the private sector in the energy industry of the oil-rich Gulf Arab states. The United Arab Emirates followed Oman's example two years later -- MUSCAT (AFP)
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