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A total of nine international companies (and their joint venture partners) are competing for a licence to build a pair of large water desalination plants of an aggregate capacity of around 250,000 cubic metres /day (equivalent to 55 million imperial gallons per day MIGD) at Barka and North Al Batinah Governorate.
Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) — the sole procurer of all new power generation and water desalination capacity in the Sultanate — named the contenders as follows: (i) International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power) (ii) Cobra Instalaciones Y Servicio SA (iii) China Geo-Engineering Corporation Branch, Al Fairuz Trading & Contracting Co and Hyflux (iv) International Power SA (IPSA) (v) GS Inima Environment SA (vi) SUEZ International (vii) Valoriza Agua SL (viii) Veolia Middle East, and (ix) UTICO FZC, FCC Aqualia, SA, and Majis Industrial Service SAOC.
The nine companies / consortiums had submitted prequalification offers in response to OPWP’s Request for Qualifications as a prerequisite for participating in a competitive tender for the two water schemes.
According to OPWP, the proposed water desalination capacity will be shared between Barka (100,000 m3/day) and North Al Batinah (150,000 m3/day). Significantly, Independent Water Projects (IWPs) entailing investments in excess of $1 billion are in various stages of development, tendering and construction in different parts of the Sultanate as authorities race to procure new capacity to satiate soaring potable water demand.
The rate of water demand has been especially strong in the Main Interconnected System (MIS), an integrated network that currently serves the potable water requirements of the governorates of Muscat, Al Batinah South, Al Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah North, and Al Buraimi.
“OPWP notes that annual demand growth has been relatively high in recent years: 99,000 m3/d in 2015, 78,000 m3/d in 2016, and 77,000 m3/d in 2017. The latter two years’ growth have occurred during the economic slowdown.
PAEW projects average demand growth of 65,000 m3/d in the Base Case and 88,000 m3/d in the High Case for the next over years,” the state-owned procurer said in its latest Seven-Year Outlook Statement for the period 2018-2024.
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