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Paying for its bills

Written by  Author |   Mon, 26 October 2015 06:06


Qatar has investment plans worth more than $125 billion in the utilities sector

According to engineering firm Drake & Scull report, Qatar has investment plans worth more than $125 billion in the utilities sector mainly for water and power projects. The report indicates that the Qatari government will invest around $60 billion on infrastructure in the coming few years, with $20 billion earmarked for electricity and water projects. Investments will include building 140 new power stations, 810 km of water mains and five new water reservoirs.

Actually, the Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation Kahramaa has spent more than QR60bn ($16.6 billion) in the last five years on development projects and expansion of electricity and water networks. KAHRAMAA is a public entity established in 2000 under Emiri Decree No. 10 with capital of QR4bn ($1.1bn). It is the main organization responsible for meeting the country's water and electricity supply needs. Alongside Kahramaa, QEWC (the Qatar Electricity and Water Company) was given the responsibility of handling production, while KAHRAMAA maintained control of transmission and distribution, and Ashghal has been commissioned managing the construction of the projects in the sector.

Water has strategic importance for countries of the Middle East, and Qatar is no exception in this regard. Limited natural reserves combined with soaring demand due to urbanization and a population increase have led to water scarcity. Despite significant investments aimed at increasing capacity, Qatar is currently facing a shortfall in water supply and could face one in electricity as well by 2020 unless it makes additional investments. According to the World Bank, Qatar extracts almost 800% of its renewable water resources each year. However, according to the same source, Qatar is using this water to drive economic growth. According to QEWC, the shortfall in electricity will reach 883 MW and that in the water supply will hit 141 MIGD by the next decade. Although the supply of renewable freshwater is very limited in Qatar, the country has been able to meet its residents' needs by investing heavily in water desalination plants.
Water and electricity supplies in Qatar are efficiently utilized in this booming economy, while the country’s oil and gas resources finance its tremendous growth. In fact, Qatar consumes almost twice as much power per capita as the average high-income industrialized countries like the US and the UK. Qatar produces a total of around 31,000 GWh of electricity each year, the vast majority of which is generated with natural gas.
In view of the importance of the sector, Kahramaa has put an investment strategy under a 30-year power and water master plan. One of the biggest ongoing projects is the construction of a $3bn water reservoir network including a series of reservoirs connected by a 183-km pipeline that also links up with the Ras Laffan and Ras Abu Fontas desalination plants.

On the other hand, Qatar Electricity and Water said it will launch construction of a QR10 billion ($2.75 billion) power and water desalination plant in October, the largest of its kind in the country. The plant, called Umm al Houl Power, will have a production capacity of 2,520 megawatts of electricity and 136 million gallons of drinking water per day. QEWC owns 60 percent of the project, while other stakeholders include state-owned Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Foundation.

Wastewater treatment
According to the "Global Water Market" report, an estimated 90% of households in Doha are connected to the main sewerage network. This figure drops to about 70% on a nationwide basis because many smaller communities in rural areas use septic tanks or other on-site technologies as an alternative. According to the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 50% of wastewater is collected.
Qatar currently has a total of six wastewater treatment plants. Doha West, with a capacity of around 135,000 cu meters per day, was upgraded in 2005 under a design-build-operate contract with France's Degremont and Japan's Marubeni. The plant treats wastewater, which is then used for municipal and agricultural irrigation. Additionally, Degremont and Marubeni are part of another consortium with a local firm, Mushrif Trading and Construction Company that won the contract for the Lusail wastewater treatment plant. Capable of treating around 60,000 cu meters of wastewater per day, the project was also tendered on a design-build-operate basis with a 10-year timeframe. Veolia is another major player in the sector. It won a seven-year operations and maintenance contract for the Doha South wastewater treatment plant in 2009. The plant has a capacity to treat 112,000 cu meters per day. It also runs Doha's Industrial Area treatment plant, which is managed as a seven-year operations and maintenance contract.  The AI Khor and Al Thakihira treatment plants are managed by local companies, with a total capacity of 4860 cu meters and 30,000 cu meters per day, respectively.
There are also a few private treatment facilities, such as the $12.5m waste-water treatment plant built on-site at the new Hamad International Airport by Metito. QP and other smaller companies also operated wastewater treatment plants at some of their facilities.

 


 

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