Oman’s be’ah weighs waste-to-energy options to support PDO’s EOR operations

Circular economy: Study sees potential for utilising power and steam recovered from incinerating an estimated 960,000 tonnes of waste per annum

Oman Environmental Services Holding Company (be’ah) — the Sultanate’s solid waste management flagship — says it has finalised a feasibility study into Waste-to-Energy (WTE) options aimed at generating high pressure steam for the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) operations of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO).
The study envisions multiple scenarios for utilising power and steam recovered from incinerating an estimated 960,000 tonnes of waste per annum, wholly government-run be’ah stated in its 2019 Annual Report.
“This project will help PDO meet its requirement for high-pressure steam to be used for its Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) activities,” said be’ah.
“Upon a final decision from PDO on the preferred scenario, be’ah and PDO will enter into an agreement to commence RFQ (Request for Qualifications) and RFP (Request for Proposals) processes for tendering out the project on BOOT basis: Build, Own, Operate and Transfer,” it noted. be’ah has been exploring waste-to-energy options to deal with various kinds of waste. Its signature waste-to-energy project at Barka, centring on the development of Oman’s first such scheme for electricity generation, has been temporarily put on hold due to a slump in power demand growth. Oman’s power authorities have promised to revive the project once market conditions are conducive for its implementation.
The proposed Barka Waste to Energy (WTE) plant envisions the diversion of 3,840 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) everyday for the production of an average 137 MW/day of electricity, which will supplied to the main grid, said be’ah.
“The project concept was promoted to major stakeholders by demonstrating its sustainability and impact on a national level — from reducing environmental emissions, saving landfill spaces, reduction of dependency on non-renewable resources and attraction of foreign direct funds to generation of employment.
Both be’ah and The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) conducted feasibility and techno-economic studies for developing the WTE plant in Barka highlighting the concept design and key operating parameters to be considered.”
However, flagging electricity demand triggered by the economic downturn stemming from collapsing international oil prices last year cast a shadow on the viability of the project with authorities deciding to put it on hold until market conditions improve.
Once revived, be’ah is expected to play its part as the principal supplier of municipal waste as feedstock, while OPWP will be the offtaker of electricity from the project.
Side by side, be’ah is exploring opportunities for converting biodegradable waste (organic waste) into commercial valuable fertiliser alongside the potential for biogas production as well. Also on the anvil is a project that seeks to produce biodiesel from used cooking oil recovered from hotels, restaurants, industrial kitchens and other local generators.