How is the management of electricity and power in Oman changing, and how does that impact Nama Holding?
As a result of the restructuring of the administrative functions of the government in 2020, Oman Investment Authority (OIA) became the shareholder of Nama Holding, which is the holding company of Nama Group. Nama Group acts as the sole provider of electricity procurement, transmission, distribution and supply, and in 2021, we have successfully transferred the Water and Wastewater Sector to Nama. Dhofar Power Company, now known as Dhofar Integrated Services Company, is now undertaking the integrated services for electricity, water and wastewater in Dhofar Governorate, and Oman Water and Wastewater Services Company (OWWSC) is the new commercial name for the merged entities: Public Authority for Water (Diam) and Oman Wastewater Services Company (Haya). This new structure will enable further alignment of strategic investments into the utilities sector. The water and wastewater sector companies will be able to leverage the electricity sector experience in restructuring and optimizing value to shareholders. There are also many synergies between the two sectors, and we will be able to unlock further value through their inclusion into our structure.
What is your role in terms of unifying Oman's whole electricity grid?
We have the north and south grid, but we do not have a connection between the two. Nama Holding owns the majority shares of the Oman Electricity Transmission Company, which is currently executing a project to connect its north and south grids (Rabt Project). We are in phase one, which aims to connect the north grid all the way to Duqm and interconnect with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) at the same time. This project is under construction at the moment, and there are multiple contractors working on it. Hopefully, it will be completed towards the end of 2022 or early 2023. Later, a decision will be taken regarding the connection beyond Duqm toward Dhofar.
When it comes to Vision 2040, what is your primary role in these diversification plans?
Our role from an electricity point of view is to ensure we have enough electricity available to fuel the economy and achieve the renewable mandate for the country. For Vision 2040, Nama Group is working on enhancing the water and wastewater sector network and availability. It is easy to transport electrons of electricity around the world but extremely difficult and expensive to transport water. Currently, we have reached around 70% of Oman in terms of water access and significantly less than that in wastewater, so a great deal needs to be done here in order to cover the country in the most practical and economical way. The spread of these services is naturally slower than electricity, so it will take more time, effort and investment. However, the technology is available, and we hope that the economic regulation that supported the development of the electricity infrastructure, will enable similar development in the water and wastewater sector as well. Once we finalize the financing strategy, implementing projects in water and wastewater services will not be that difficult.
What are your main priorities for the next 12 months?
Our priority is to steer the integration the water and wastewater services together. We also have the privatization of distribution companies, primarily Muscat Electricity Distribution Company. In addition to meeting the deadline to deliver the interconnection project (Rabt), as it will enhance the efficiency of the network and optimize costs. Furthermore, we will focus on expediting the roll out of smart meters across the country to enhance the customer experience and improve the operations of networks. On top of those priorities is surviving COVID-19. We were planning for a certain level of growth that did not materialize because of drop in oil prices and then COVID-19; however, at the moment we are in a power surplus situation, with growth being flat or falling. This will change after COVID-19 as the economy is bound to pick up and recover.