Oman’s SPC desalination problems could impact Barka/Sohar bids

Another technical malfunction at the Sohar 1 desalination project in Oman could impact bidding for two new projects...

Oman

The 150,000 m3/day Sohar 1 desalination plant in Oman is once again facing problems, with a “technical malfunction” causing disruption in water supply to the governorates of North and South Batinah and Buraimi.

A statement from the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) said the disruption would affect water supply for up to 48 hours.

PAEW said: “PAEW apologizes for any shortage in water supply during this period and urges all the valued customers from the region to take necessary measures and continue to rationalize the use of water.”

Bidding is also underway in the country for the construction of two desalination plants – in Barka and Sohar.

It is rumoured that Veolia Middle East, Suez and Abengoa are among the final bidders, although the companies were unable to confirm.

One industry source told WWi that: “This [Sohar 1] is a Suez project and may have an adverse impact on their selection for this project.”

It was in May the Sohar 1 plant was unexpectedly shutdown due to operational issues and flooding of the seawater intake area (watch Desalinate newscast).

In a statement filed to the Muscat Securities Market, the Sohar Power Company (SPC) said the financial impact of the operational issues is expected to vary between 0.7 and 1.4 million Omani rials, or up to 3.6 million US dollars.

The initial flooding on May 3 was said to have been caused by a burst seawater pipe belonging to oil refinery company Orpic in the Sohar port. Operations were then started back up on May 9but not back to normal levels.

A report following a formal investigation into the breakdown reportedly said that a lack of emergency skills and failure to follow operating manual instructions were among the reasons for the losses of power and water production.

For the new desalination projects, the Barka IWP project is expected to have a capacity of 281,000 m3/day, with the Sohar project at 250,000 m3/day.

A tender notification from Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) attracted bids from Abengoa; Itochu Corporation, JGC, GS Inima Environment; Veolia Middle East, Valoriza Agua and Hyflux.

All of the bids include partnerships with local companies, apart from Hyflux – also developing the Quarayyat project in Oman – who is bidding for the project on its own.

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