Oman’s largest desalination plant, which is coming up in Barka, will boost water security in the Sultanate’s northern region by adding approximately 62 million gallons of potable water per day to the existing water capacity of the country.
Slated for commercial operation in April 2018, the independent water project will increase Oman’s water capacity by 20 per cent, said Ahmed bin Saleh Al Jahdhami, chief executive officer (CEO) of Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), at an agreement signing ceremony.
OPWP, the sole procurer of new power generation and water desalination capacity, on Thursday signed OMR115 million ($300 million) agreement to establish the Barka Desalination Company with a consortium led by the ITOCHU Corporation.
“The project is the largest desalinated water capacity ever procured in the Sultanate. As such, it will be a vital addition to the main system and will positively contribute to the security of water supply in the country,” the OPWP CEO said.
“The project is anticipated to create jobs for nationals and opportunities for business owners, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” CEO Al Jahdhami added.
The agreements were signed by OPWP CEO Al Jahdhami, and Toshiyuki Kosugi of the ITOCHU Corporation. Mohammed bin Abdullah al Mahrouqi, chairman of the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW), was also present at the event.
The desalination project, which will use reserve osmosis as water purification technology, will be implemented by a consortium comprising the ITOCHU Corporation, SUEZ, ENGIE and W.J. Towell & Company on a build-own-operate basis under the terms of water purchase agreements with OPWP, the company said.
Under the independent water project, OPWP will purchase potable water produced by the project under a water purchase agreement with a term of 20 years.
“The Barka Desalination Company consortium members are proud of their commercial success and the competitiveness of their offer, which gathers international and local expertise to propose the most suitable technical and financial solutions to meet the Oman’s needs for clean potable water,” Kosugi, advisor, ITOCHU Corporation and representative of the Barka Desalination Company Consortium, said.
With water demand in Oman exceeding supply, the new project is expected to ease water shortage. The demand for potable water in Oman’s northern region is projected to grow by 6 per cent in the seven years up to 2020. Previous sevenyear forecasts had pegged the average annual growth in the range of 3 to 5 per cent.
Earlier, OPWP had started the procurement process to develop the desalination project in February 2015, with 12 companies participating in the prequalification process. The project was awarded to the consortium led by the ITOCHU Corporation, which owns a 36 per cent stake, SUEZ and ENGIE own 27 per cent each and the W.J. Towell & Company holds the remaining 10 per cent stake in the project.