The power industry is facing change at a faster pace, than ever before. As policies and technologies change, markets favor the proactive and informed. Oman power is focused on the power industry’s latest research, technical advances, development trends and business strategies, including power plant operations, maintenance, performance, economics and regulatory compliance by broad range of qualified stakeholders
Oman’s growing economy, as seen in the stape of large scale infrastructure projects resulting from rapid urban and Industrial expansion, fast-rowing population and change in modern lifestyle, are contributing much to boost demand for power and water. Developing sustainable water and energy supliers and finding innovative sources are critical to the country’s immediate and log-term future, which is high in the government’s agenda. Currently, it is focusing its attention on developing renewable energy on electricity production, boosting investment opportunities and capacity, and implementing big projects.
Oman in new power phase, boost for Vision 2020
Oman Observer, July 14, 2015
It has been a turning point for Oman that the country has entered the solar bandwagon to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel to meet its power requirements. As the country’s economy continues to grow, solar power can become an important component of the country’s energy portfolio. Population growth and the expansion of heavy industry have put a strain on Oman’s power infrastructure and, by extension, its oil and gas reserves.
The new developments auger well for the country’s Vision 2020 policy that 10 per cent of Oman’s total electricity requirements be met from renewable energy sources by 2020.
It is all becoming clear that Oman has serious intentions to invest heavily in the development of its renewable energy capacity over the coming years.
Most significantly the country can lessen its subsidy burden for the cost effectiveness involved in the technology used for production of solar energy. Heavily subsidised electricity, which means lower tariffs, poses a huge burden on the government.
And along with new expansions demanding more power, there is a rising environmental concern due to excessive consumption of fuel in producing power.
Oman is the only country in the region, which has a dedicated Ministry for Environment and Climate Affairs.
As experts say solar power is a great opportunity for Oman because of the ability to decentralise solar generation capacity and locate power plants in close proximity to the point of demand without significant investment in new transmission infrastructure.
It is also great to see that the country is evaluating the value of diversifying its energy generation to meet new demand, and it makes sense to develop solar power generation.
At the same time, the concern being expressed by many experts is that the Oman power system is not fully interconnected.
The largest part of the system, known as the Main Interconnected System (MIS) covers the northern part of the Sultanate. A smaller system owned by the Dhofar Power Company serves the Salalah area in the south.
The rest of the country is supplied by the Rural Areas Electricity Company. Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), responsible for oil and gas exploration and production, also owns and operates its own power system, which is interconnected with the MIS and Salalah systems.
The launch of Oman’s first of its kind solar project in the Wilayat of Al Mazyona in Dhofar Governorate will go a long way in its energy diversification plans.
Built at a cost of about $1 million and implemented by Bahwan Astonfield Solar Energy Company with a daily production capacity of 1,667 kW per hour, the project will become commercially operational in September this year. Also equally important is the use of solar energy in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in the country.
EOR applications account for a significant portion of Oman’s annual natural gas consumption. By incorporating solar steam, PDO significantly reduced the amount of natural gas it burns to produce steam for EOR.
Solar EOR uses concentrated solar power technology to produce steam, with mirrors reflecting concentrated sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to heat, which is then used to produce steam.
In the first week of this month PDO announced that it would build the Middle East’s largest solar power plant in a $600 million deal with California’s GlassPoint Solar to reduce pressure on its natural gas reserves.
According to Hamad bin Salim al Maghdari, CEO of the Rural Areas Electricity Company, the construction of the Al Mazyona project came within the framework of a deliberate plan implemented by the government to take advantage of the renewable energy in the Sultanate using solar energy technology.
The significant fact about the project is its cost effectiveness.
The pricing of electricity generated using this method and electricity generated using gas-fired systems fluctuates per region due to differing wind power. But considering that wind-generated electricity is competing with subsidised gas prices, it is a promising comparison for the future, with the difference between the two only likely to decrease.
Says Al Maghdari, “the 250 to 300 kW produced from the solar panels located in the Sultanate are equivalent in efficiency to a capacity of 1000 kW in Europe.”
This, according to him, “indicates that the enormous amount of sunlight falling on the territory of the Sultanate qualifies it to produce solar energy using a number of panels less than that is used by other regions or countries”.
The solar power station will cover about 60 per cent of electric power for the company’s subscribers in winter in the Wilayat Al Mazyona in the early years of the life of the project.
The project will provide RO 824,000 during the period of the agreement and will reduce harmful carbon emissions produced by conventional fuel which are estimated at 433 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and will save burning of 155,000 litres of diesel per year.
Oman plans to develop 800MW power project in Muscat
Times of Oman, April 16, 2016
Oman plans to develop a major gas-fired independent power project with a generation capacity of 800 megawatts in Muscat region to meet the growing demand for electricity, said a senior official of Oman Power and Water Procurement (OPWP) Company.
Eng. Yaqoob bin Saif Al Kiyumi, chief operating officer of OPWP, said that his company has already started groundwork for the project, which will be developed by an independent power producer.
“We will start prequalification before the end of this year and the project will be in Muscat,” he said, adding that the plan is to start operation by 2021.
Oman’s average annual growth in power demand for the next five years within the areas of main inter-connected system (MIS) is projected at 10 per cent to 5,023 megawatt in 2020, according to a seven-year outlook for power demand released by Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) a couple of years ago.
However, peak demand growth, under the demand forecast, is expected at about 11 per cent per annum, from 4,455 megawatt in 2013 to 9,133 megawatt in 2020.
The Muscat project is going to commence operation after two major independent power projects — Sohar3 and Ibri — that are under development start generation in January and April 2019, respectively.
A Mitsui-led consortium is building the two independent gas-fired combined cycle power plants, with a combined generation capacity of 3,150 megawatts (MW) - 1,450 MW in Ibri and a 1,700 MW capacity in Sohar 3.
OPWP signs $2.3bn contract for power plants
Construction Week Online, May 17, 2016
Oman Power and Water Procurement (OPWP) signed a number of agreements worth $2.3bn ($885m) to establish two Independent Power Plants (IPP) located at Ibri in the Governorate of A'Dhahirah and Sohar in the Governorate of North Al Batinah.
This represents the single largest procurement by the power sector of the Sultanate, with expected installed capacity of 3,219 MW, accounting for approximately 30% of power capacity in the main integrated system (MIS).
The two new natural gas-fired combined cycle power plants will have total installed capacity of 3,219 MW, consisting of 1,509 MW at Ibri, and 1,710 MW at Sohar-3.
Both projects will be connected to the existing MIS grid once in operation. The Ibri plant is planned to be commercially operated by Q2 of 2019, and Sohar-3 plant is planned to be in operation by Q1 of 2019.
Ahmed bin Saleh al-Jahdhami, CEO of OPWP said: “These projects will have an active role in meeting the increasing demand for electric power in light of urbanization and ambitious projects that are implemented in various sectors in the Sultanate. The projects will be constructed using the latest technologies and standards in line with the OPWP’s strategy to raise efficiency and reduce costs".
OPWP released the RfP in March 2015. Bidders have competed in their technical and financial bids, and through the evaluation carried out by the company, the project was awarded to the consortium consisting of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., ACWA Power, and Dhofar International Development and Investment Holding Co. (DIDIC).
Yoshio Kometani, COO of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., managing member of the consortium, and Mohammed Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power said that they are very excited to be part of these IPP, in continuation from its partnership in Salalah Independent Power Project Phase II, which is currently under construction.
Mitsui & Co., Ltd. as managing member will hold a 50.1%, ACWA Power will hold 44.9%, and DIDIC will hold the remaining 5%.
Duqm's first large scale power project expected to be awarded early 2018
Times of Oman, August 1, 2017
An engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to build Duqm's first large-scale natural gas-fired power-cum-water desalination project is expected to be awarded in the first quarter of 2018.
The new project, which will have a ‘contracted capacity’ to generate 183 megawatts (MW) of power, along with a 9.5 million imperial gallons of water per day-capacity desalination plant, is being developed by Marafiq—the Sultanate’s first centralised utilities provider catering initially to the industrial zones.
The deadline for submitting bids by pre-qualified companies has been extended to September 15 from an earlier deadline of August 1. As many as eight pre-qualified companies are expected to submit their bids for building the power and water project, which will take three years to complete.
The project is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the seven-year outlook report recently released by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP).
The new project is designed to primarily meet the energy requirements of a new refinery and petrochemical complex under development at the Duqm free zone. The 230,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) greenfield refinery is being jointly developed by the Oman Oil Company and Kuwait Petroleum International at a cost of around $7 billion.
Duqm is presently served by a 66 megawatt diesel-fired power plant, owned and operated by the Rural Areas Electricity Company (Raeco), which is part of the Electricity Holding Company or the Nama Group.
The current development of the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (SEZAD) will attract an additional industrial investment, which is expected to drive demand for power.
The demand for electricity in Duqm is expected to grow significantly as SEZAD realises its ambitious development plans to transform the special economic zone into a world-class investment destination.
The first phase of the SEZAD master plan anticipates electricity demand will reach 650MW by 2025.
Meanwhile, a Chinese consortium is also considering a 300MW coal-fired power plant in Duqm. Two state-owned Chinese power giants—Hebei Electric Power Design and Research and Ningxia Electric Power Design Institute—plan to conduct an environmental impact assessment study for getting environment clearance from the Oman government for a $406 million-coal-fired power project in the Duqm free zone.
Marafiq was established as a joint venture between the Takamul Investment Company, a subsidiary of Oman Oil Company, with a 65 per cent share and Sembcorp Utilities (Oman) with a 35 per cent stake.
Marafiq has signed a 25-year utilities service agreement with the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (SEZAD), which gives Marafiq an exclusive right to provide various utilities and industrial gases to all industries within SEZAD; and to support the vision of SEZAD towards developing a world-class industrial park.
Marafiq is considered as a ‘one-stop shop’ provider of a full range of centralised utilities. This concept will also enable industries to outsource all the utilities required to support their operations to Marafiq, rather than build and run their own utilities and facilities. This will not only offer industries with a reliable utilities supply, but also creates synergies, as well as the opportunity to benefit from economies of scale, and save on investment and operating costs, thereby allowing industries to focus on their core businesses.