HOP, SKIP & JUMP

Oman 2017 | ENVIRONMENT & UTILITIES | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Eng. Tariq Ali Al-Amri, CEO of Be'ah, on the development of environmental solutions, establishing a solid waste value chain, and investment areas.

Eng. Tariq Ali Al-Amri,
BIOGRAPHY
Eng. Tariq Ali Al-Amri assumed the role of the CEO of Be’ah in 2011 and brings in more than 26 years of experience spanning over many industries. He started his career as a project engineer working for Petroleum Development of Oman (PDO). In 1996, he joined one of the government’s pension funds as head of investment. Then he moved to Oman LNG as head of strategic finance, where he was responsible for the economics of Qalhat LNG project. In 2004, he joined Omantel as head of finance before he was assigned the role of VP responsible for the commercial, finance, hr, and corporate affairs. Tariq holds an MBA and BSc. in electrical engineering, both from the US.

How is Be'ah contributing to the development of environmental solutions within the Sultanate?

Be'ah strives to conserve the environment for future generations. Be'ah's main objectives are to control environmental damage incurred during decades of traditional waste dumping processes; re-structure the waste sector in Oman and its related services in a sustainable manner; develop the industry; and support Oman's economy. Under this umbrella, Be'ah works on moving toward sustainable waste management practices as per international standards by establishing the required infrastructure, restructuring waste services, and improving public awareness of waste management. Be'ah is also setting up the country's first integrated industrial hazardous waste management and treatment facility in North Al- Batinah. Spread over 240 hectares, it will have a slag reclamation and hazardous waste engineered landfill. The integrated facility will also consist of plants for solidification, physical/chemical treatment, and thermal treatment. Furthermore, Be'ah has projects based on the theme of waste to energy to water. This is a national project whereby waste is thermally treated to generate energy, which is then fed to a desalination plant to produce potable water. At present, the desalination plants in the country are run by natural gas-fired engines. Under this project, natural gas can be substituted with energy generated from waste, and in this way the Sultanate can minimize the use of natural gas and redirect natural gas production toward exports, which contributes to the national economy. We have plans to set up a waste-to-energy-to-water plant on the South Al Batinah coast. A feasibility study was conducted and looked into aspects like waste characterization to determine which technology is best for the plant. If 2,100 tons/day of municipal waste were diverted to the plant, it would generate enough electricity to produce 120 million cubic meters of desalinated water per annum. This is almost 40% of the country's existing desalination capacity.

What are some of Be'ah's major accomplishments, especially in relation to closing dumpsites and establishing a solid waste value chain?

Uncontrolled dumpsites have existed for decades in Oman and all sorts of mixed-waste streams are dumped in unprotected trenches or dumpsites. It is estimated that there are more than 380 dumpsites scattered across the country that are polluting soil, water, and air causing fires and unpleasant odors and they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. As a priority to control the damage, Be'ah embarked on an aggressive plan to close all dumpsites and replace them with 11 engineered landfills and 25 transfer stations across the country. As the infrastructure is being laid out, municipal solid waste services outsource contracts were floated as tenders, whereby experienced companies provide municipal waste management services that include pre-collection, collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of waste. We have started providing waste management services in the governorates of South Al-Sharqiya, South Al-Batinah, and Al-Dakhiliya. Our services in Dhofar are expected to start in January 2017, followed by Al- Dhairah and Al- Buriami. The rest of the governorates will be covered in due course.

This sector is ripe for investment. Which areas are you most ambitious about?

The total investment for basic infrastructure for municipal waste will be around USD150 million, the waste-energy-water project by itself will have a total investment of well over USD750 million, and the industrial waste infrastructure will have an investment of over USD150 million. Focusing on the specific projects, such as the waste to energy to water project, we do not yet have a local company that can develop and construct this. This has to be open for international companies. We also need international companies for industrial waste and have already taken steps to engage international companies. There are also great business opportunities in the different waste streams. To reinforce in-country value, Be'ah is working toward establishing various opportunities for investors and SMEs to manage end-of-life tires (ELT), construction and demolition waste (C&D), lead acid batteries (LAB), and more. We are now focusing on putting in place investment opportunities both for Omani and international companies.