Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/11/2014 -- We expect Oman's water sector to remain active for the duration of our forecast period, with a series of projects across production, distribution and wastewater treatment likely to keep investors interested in this stable market in the Middle Eastern region. Muscat faces a challenge in the form of rising demand outstripping existing supply; and increased production combined with network efficiency savings are likely to be a key area of focus for the authorities moving forward. Recent water shortages highlight the desert country's major challenge.
The Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) is the government body with responsibility for the water sector, regulating pricing and tariffs and coordinating infrastructure development projects. Currently there are no immediate plans for revisions to pricing and tariff, but it remains on the agenda in order to assure the commercial viability of the water sector moving forward, particularly in light of the long-term growth needed. The PAEW's announcement of a shutdown of water supply to parts of the Muscat Governate in January 2014 shows that the country remains susceptible to shortages warranting extreme measures.
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The Omani government is committed to delivering expansions to capacity, and overhauling the existing supply system in order to reduce water losses - a key area for concern considering the limited nature of existing water sources. With increased demand likely to continue, the government has a range of projects in the offing, many of which are likely to be granted to international water companies as domestic companies are unlikely to be able to meet project specifications.
The water sector in Oman is open to private management, with a viable and stable regulatory framework that is geared towards prioritising investment from foreign countries and a commitment to a level playing field that is on a par with the best in the MENA region. This makes the market an attractive investment destination, with the expected increases in demand likely to keep driving growth forward. International developers are involved in a range of projects, from desalination, water system management or wastewater treatment.
Independent water and power projects (IWPPs) are likely to set the pace of future development, with the Ghubrah desalination plant now under way, with a range of other projects expected to follow.
Recent key developments include:
- Ferrovial, in partnership with Sumitomo Corporation and Malakoff International won the contract to build a new desalination plant at Ghubrah, a US$300mn project expected to come online in 2015.
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