The Rural Areas Electricity Company (Tamweer), a subsidiary of The Electricity Holding Company (Nama Group), has reported an impressive 26 percent growth in the value of its nationwide assets, which rose to RO 533 million at the end of 2019, up from RO 422 million a year earlier.
It underscores wholly-government-owned Tanweer’s increasingly important role as the sole provider of electricity and potable water to vast swathes of the Sultanate that lie far beyond the coverage of the nation’s main power and water grids.
Included in the company’s jurisdiction are the governorates of Musandam and Al Wusta, parts of Al Dakhiliyah and South Al Sharqiyah, and much of Dhofar – aggregating around 73 per cent of the land area of the country.
Oman has moved to reassure private water and power producers that they will still get paid in full, a week after the country’s central offtaker shocked companies by saying it would not be meeting its bills.
At the start of last week, it emerged that the 11 private companies that supply just under 1.5 million m3/d of water in the Sultanate had been told by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) that there would be a “hold back” of power and water capacity investment payments from April invoices onwards.
Since the beginning of the crisis, global water solutions specialist Veolia has put in place business continuity plans specific to each country that focus primarily on producing and supplying drinking water and treating wastewater, preserving waste collection operation, safeguarding energy management activities in cooling networks, performing industrial on-site services to ensure industrial continue to operate and upholding its activities processing hazardous waste, which is vital to maintaining key industrial operations.
In Oman, the men and women of Veolia who are highly experienced in managing crisis, draw on the Group’s solid organisation and tried and tested methods to carry out duties, even in the most difficult and critical conditions.
France-headquartered resource management specialist, Veolia, has joined forces with Oman’s Sembcorp Salalah Power and Water Company, and Sohar Operation Services, to launch an apprenticeship initiative aimed at elevating the quality of talent entering Oman’s desalination sector.
The nine-month programme will include theoretical learning within a classroom environment as well as on-the-job training for Omani mechanical and electrical engineering graduates from the Sultan Qaboos University and the Salalah Technology College.
The apprenticeship programme is certified by the Ministry of Manpower in Oman and is based upon the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 4, which is UK’s work-based qualification that tests candidates on their knowledge and skills for technical and professional work-related activities.
To engage the broadest possible community of researchers and innovators from across the world, MEDRC’s desalination innovation strategy has two approaches – an innovation inducement prize called the ‘Oman Humanitarian Desalination Challenge’ carrying a $700,000 cash prize, and the international research call announced today with support from USAID.
The Oman Humanitarian Desalination Challenge Prize is a joint initiative led by MEDRC and The Research Council (TRC) with funding provided by the Sultan Qaboos Higher Centre for Culture and Science. The $700,000 USD cash prize will be awarded to the team or person that delivers a hand-held, low-cost, off-grid desalination device that can be rapidly deployed in the aftermath of a humanitarian crisis.
The Competition is a global water prize that looks to award $700,000 to the person or team that can invent a small, cheap and easy to use desalination device that would enable people in emergency situations to single handedly purify salty or contaminated water to a safe drinking standard.
Oman relies on desalination because its extreme scarcity of water leaves few other options. In this corner of the Arabian Peninsula, there isn’t a single river that flows year-round, and pumping from wells has led to depleted aquifers and allowed saltwater to seep into groundwater along the coast.
In Sur, south of the capital Muscat, water for residents and businesses comes from a large desalination plant that serves some 600,000 people. “Before, life was very difficult. We had wells, and water was delivered by trucks,” the 58-year-old said. “Since the 1990s, water has come through pipes and we’ve had no cuts.”