MUSCAT: Strengthening interconnectivity between Oman and the GCC grid is enabling seamless electricity trades – imports and exports – aimed at helping GCC member states address any domestic power supply shortfalls, particularly during the summer season.

This is evident from media reports that Kuwait's Ministry of Electricity is currently evaluating a proposal from Oman to supply 350 megawatts (MW) of power during the upcoming summer. With peak demand expected to exceed 17,700 MW and a potential shortfall of 500 MW, the Ministry is exploring import options. Additional proposals from other Gulf states are anticipated to bridge the entire summer gap, the reports noted.

Electricity imports will inevitably be handled through the GCC interconnection network, which fosters regional cooperation and grid stability, particularly during high demand periods.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) interconnection project is making strides. The recently inaugurated grid between Saudi Arabia and Iraq marks the beginning of a 1,000 MW electricity network. Spanning over 1,050 km from Kuwait to Oman, this project is expected to deliver annual technical and economic benefits, including cost savings of $200-300 million annually, for the GCC nations. Initially, it will provide 500 MW to Iraq, with a projected completion within 24 months.

Oman is also bolstering linkages to address any energy shortfalls. A new interconnection with Saudi Arabia's grid has the potential to increase imports from 400 MW to 1,600 MW. This will enhance stability in electricity supply, particularly during emergencies. This is the second such interconnection for Oman, following the existing link with the UAE.

Planning for a direct interconnection between Oman and Saudi Arabia, via a 400 kV DC link spanning roughly 700km, is underway. This project, along with existing interconnections and Oman's North-South Interconnect project (Rabt), aims to integrate regional power systems, improve reliability, and expand access to stable and affordable electricity across the GCC.

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