21 May 2016
Muscat - Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co's investment in Oman's largest power scheme effectively marks a significant upscaling of its activities in the Sultanate. As a 51 per cent equity partner in the consortium developing the 3,219 MW Ibri/Sohar-3 power projects, Mitsui is set to make a substantial contribution to the Sultanate's power sector -- a move that a high-level official says is consistent with Mitsui's long-term commitment to Oman's development. Total investment in the Ibri/Sohar-3 power scheme is estimated at $2.3 billion.

"We are proud to have contributed to the continuous economic development of this wonderful country, and would very much like to maintain and further strengthen the excellent relationship we have established over these many years through our several activities including the infrastructure, oil & gas, and chemical business," said Yoshio Kometani, Chief Operating Officer of Mitsui & Co.

"Through our trading and investment activities, we have been fortunate to steadily develop our business in Oman. This marks our 36th year in the country," he stated at a ceremony at which project agreements were inked last week.

As Managing Member of the consortium, Mitsui will bring its formidable know-how in power generation -- having already delivered a staggering 41 gigawatts of capacity globally -- to Oman's landmark power scheme, said Kometani.

The Ibri/Sohar-3 scheme represents Mitsui's second major investment in Oman's predominantly privatised electricity sector.

Last year, a consortium that included the Tokyo headquartered international behemoth was a mandate to develop a new Independent Power Project (IPP) in Salalah.

Salalah-2, as the new power project is referred to, is currently under construction at a cost of around $620 million. The 445MW gas fired power plant will be brought into operation before the summer of 2018.  Together with the existing 273 MW Dhofar Power Plant that the consortium acquired as part of the bid, the project will contribute a combined capacity of 718MW to the Salalah grid when Salalah-2 comes on stream.

Mitsui is already a major player in Oman's upstream energy sector.  Through its subsidiary Mitsui E&P Middle East, the giant has interests in four oil and gas blocks -- 3, 4, 9 and 27 -- which together account for 10 per cent of Oman's total oil production. Additionally, Mitsui has equity stakes in the Sultanate's three-train gas liquefaction plant in Sur, owned by Oman LNG and Qalhat LNG.

Late last year, the joint venture of GS Engineering & Construction and Mitsui & Co Ltd was named the winner of Package 3 of the mammoth $6 billion Liwa Plastics project currently under development by Orpic in Sohar. The contract "further strengthens our contribution in all phases of the hydrocarbon value chain, in one of the most important and friendliest countries for Japan," Kometani added.

© Oman Daily Observer 2016