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* The final cost of water at Shoaiba is reported to be 213.79 halalas/m<sup>3</sup> ($0.57/m<sup>3</sup>), comprised of a capacity charge of 193.65 halalas/m<sup>3</sup> ($0.516/m<sup>3</sup>), a fixed O&M charge of 12.25 halalas/m<sup>3</sup> ($0.032/m<sup>3</sup>), and a variable O&M charge of 7.889 halalas/m<sup>3</sup> ($0.021/m<sup>3</sup>).

It will inevitably be compared with the cost of water from other desalination projects. However, the tariff does not include fuel costs and the project uses an energy conversion agreement (ECA) to provide fuel to the developers at minimal cost.

* As well as the financing documents for Shoaiba, an approximate $2,175 million EPC contract has been signed with the consortium of Siemens Power Generation (PG) and Doosan Heavy Industries. It is Siemens’ largest single order in the Gulf to date. Siemens’ scope of work covers the supply of three steam turbine generators each rated at 400MW, which will provide the plant’s 900MW of power. The desalination plant supplied by Doosan will provide about 880,000m3/d (194MIGD) of water in 12 MSF units each of 74,000m3/d (16.2MIGD).

* The remaining part of the RFP for Oman’s next IWPP at Barka was issued in late December. The deadline for bids is 27 March although the client is likely to agree to a short extension. Seven companies have prequalified for the project, which covers construction of a 500MW-700MW and 120,000m3/d (26.4MIGD) power and desalination plant as well as the acquisition of an existing 668MW power facility at Rusail. The choice of desalination technology has been left open to bidders. \"A good RO bid will definitely be considered\", commented a project source. An IWPP based on RO or a hybrid design would be a first for the Middle East.

* Meanwhile, the choice of technology at Hidd has got the desalination industry talking about the advantages of MED versus MSF and the potential for its further development. It seems the main reason for using MED at Hidd is because it uses less auxiliary power from the existing combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant than MSF. However for a greenfield project, MSF is still more cost-effective than MED, according to one project source. It is an intricate debate, but there is obvious value in getting MED to the table on competitively bid IWPPs.