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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/11/2013 -- BMI View: An active start to the year saw a clutch of contract awards in the water sector, as well as new bidding deadlines for centrepiece water projects - a positive statement of intent from the authorities in Muscat, who are facing a faster demand outlook than they had anticipated originally. With the Ghubrah desalination plant now underway, with the official contract signing completed by project leader Sumitomo in February 2013, independent water and power projects (IWPPs) will set the pace, though wastewater remains a critical component in the Sultanate's water strategy going forward. We expect more project activity through 2013 and into 2014, as the government grapples with a difficult supply/demand picture.
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The key trends and developments in Oman's water sector are:
- Muscat will remain a solid and attractive investment destination in the forecast period, with a viable and stable regulatory framework that is geared to prioritising investment from foreign companies - and a commitment to a level playing field that is on a par with the best in the MENA region. The focus on privately financed infrastructure projects will ensure a prominent role for international developers - whether in desalination, water system management or wastewater treatment. Moreover, with a pipeline of deals going through the system, and a welter of project awards in Q113, there is every reason to believe that the Omani authorities will keep up the pace, granting to international water companies the prospect of a lucrative market going forward.
- A spate of contract awards in Q113 suggests the Omani authorities are serious about delivering improvements in capacity and overhauls of existing supply, whether in desalination, wastewater treatment and general water system management. This is encouraging, given that water consumption has increased at a speedier rate than the government anticipated. Bids were submitted by an extended mid- March 2013 deadline for the construction of a new pumping station at Ghubrah.
- Oman's water sector is well regulated, with PAEW maintaining oversight and ultimate responsibility for the sector's operation - something it has discharged well over its lifetime. There are no immediate plans for revisions to pricing and tariff, but it remains on the agenda in order to assure commercial viability of the water sector.
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