What role does Majis Industrial Services play in the water sector, and what contribution is the company making to the development of the economy?
Majis was established in 2006 to provide water solutions to the industrial port of Sohar. A few years later, we extended that service to the Sohar Freezone. Majis is currently serving five water-related products. The first product is cooling water, which is sea water cleaned of marine life and debris, which is pumped to the customer for cooling purposes and then pumped back into the sea. We pump close to 320,000cbm of water per hour, and there are no additives to the water except chlorine. The second product is drinking water, which we produce in a small osmosis plant. We pump 11,000cbm per day to the government water grid, in order to contribute the water supply to the general public. The third element is processed water with no chemical additives, and we provide around 10,000cbm per day directly to customers after reverse osmosis. We are also collecting the domestic water waste, which is the fourth element. We are currently building facilities to collect this water, and separating solids from the liquid. The liquid, after waste and chemicals have been removed, is sent back to some customers for irrigation processes; this is the fifth element. Unfortunately at this time, the solid waste is sent to the waste yard, though we are considering making fertilizer with it. We currently serve roughly 30 customers with diverse needs.
What is the status of the seawater intake facility construction that Majis has been developing and what benefits do you expect this facility to bring?
The facility is developing well, and we have not had to deviate from our timeline. The project itself is customer oriented, and we are not investing before the demand peaks. The driver of this project is the expansion of the Sohar refinery. The water treatment plant is called SWIP. These projects are all taking water from the facility under construction and this new facility has the capacity to accommodate around 400,000cbm of water per hour, being able to produce around 700,000cbm between the two plants. We expect that when Majis expands, our revenue and asset value will improve accordingly. The asset value is now around $130 million, and this would add another $104 million. For the country, this is a must in order to accommodate customers. Without our investment, customers will have difficulties sourcing the water, and cooling and processing happens through us.
What are the key transformational changes happening in the water sector?
We are looking forward to the unbundling of the water sector and are striving for a decentralized water sector. People become too relaxed under centralization, and we feel that the challenge of competition inspires innovation and will be highly beneficial to the sector.
What challenges exist in the sector for water management and what adaptations are you making accordingly?
The challenges at the moment involve the cost of power and water. Costs are quite high, and technology evolvement, specifically solar, will offset this. Reverse osmosis eased the cost of using heat technology, which generated more electricity. Especially in this area, it is important to know the best way to make desalinated water. Reverse osmosis continues to move forward, but using it with solar technology will present more opportunities. The community needs to come up with creative solutions to make the production of water more affordable. Production should be privatized and immediately go to the dilution stage. We need one or two years as a transitional period but the way forward is by decentralizing the production of water and encouraging customers to conserve use.