Mega Power Project in Oman to Add 2,000 Megawatts Capacity
By staff - Tue May 24, 10:11 am
Oman will award a contract “very soon” for construction of the planned Sur Power Plant as it struggles to meet a projected 9 percent annual increase in electricity demand, the head of the utilities authority said.
The economy of Oman, the largest oil producer in the Persian Gulf that isn’t a member of OPEC, has expanded at a rapid and accelerating rate over the last decade, Mohammed Abdullah al-Mahrouqi, chairman of the public authority for electricity and water, said today at a conference in the capital city, Muscat.
“This economic growth has been combined with a substantial increase in demand for both electricity and water,” he told the Oman Power and Water Summit.
The Sur project will add 1,500 to 2,000 megawatts of additional generating capacity by 2014, Alan Davies, manager of strategic studies for Oman Power and Water Procurement Co., said at the conference. An early stage of the plant may add 400 megawatts of power to the country’s grid by 2013, he said.
Oman, like its Gulf neighbors the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, faces a challenge trying to meet surging demand for power given the limited availability of natural gas to use as fuel in generating plants. Oman’s gas reserves rank seventh in size in the Middle East, according to BP Plc.
Record Power Demand
The country’s electricity consumption peaked at a record 3,900 megawatts on May 21, 10 percent higher than peak demand in 2010 and in excess of its installed generating capacity, John Cunneen, executive director of the Authority for Electricity Regulation, said yesterday. Omanis used reserve diesel generators to make up for shortfalls on the national grid, and the authority doesn’t expect blackouts to be a problem this summer, Cunneen said.
Oman will have sufficient gas to supply the Sur plant, Bob Whitelaw, Oman Power and Water Procurement’s chief executive officer, said today. The country, which imports gas from Qatar through a pipeline, is looking at alternatives for producing power in the future, including coal, nuclear energy and seaborne imports of liquefied natural gas, Whitelaw said. Marubeni Corp. and Mitsui & Co. are among five bidders seeking to build the Sur plant, Ahmed al-Busaidi of Oman Power and Water Procurement said in Dubai on May 16.
Oman plans to add 700 megawatts of generating capacity by next year with the start of phase 1 of the Baka 3 and Sohar 2 plants, Cunneen said yesterday. Oman also wants to raise output of fresh water and plans to seek bids in the fourth quarter of this year for the construction of the planned 42 million-gallon Gubrah desalination plant, al-Mahrouqi said.