Oman: 25 investors interested in two power assets

Oman has outlined plans in recent years to sell off state assets as it seeks to confront fiscal deficits built up after a drop in oil prices. (AFP)
Updated 11 March 2019
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Oman: 25 investors interested in two power assets

  • Nama Group plans to sell a 70 percent stake in Muscat Electricity Distribution and 49 percent of Oman Electricity Transmission
  • Oman has outlined plans in recent years to sell off state assets as it seeks to confront fiscal deficits built up after a drop in oil prices

DUBAI: Oman has received 25 expressions of interest from investors interested in buying stakes in two electricity companies under a privatization plan aimed at boosting state coffers, officials said on Monday.
Nama Group, a government holding company, plans to sell a 70 percent stake in Muscat Electricity Distribution and 49 percent of Oman Electricity Transmission. The firms have combined assets worth $3.2 billion.
Nama tweeted that it had received 14 offers for Muscat Electricity Distribution and 11 bids for Oman Electricity Transmission. It said 23 “strategic and financial investors” were among the bidders but did not name them.
Oman has outlined plans in recent years to sell off state assets as it seeks to confront fiscal deficits built up after a drop in oil prices. It forecast a 2019 budget deficit of 2.8 billion rials ($7.3 billion) or 9 percent of gross domestic product.
Last week, Moody’s followed other rating agencies and cut Oman’s credit rating to junk with a negative outlook, citing fiscal challenges at a time of moderate oil prices.
Mansoor Al-Hinai, a Nama vice president, told a news conference in Muscat on Monday that the deals are expected to be finalized by the end of 2019, local news website WAF News said.
It quoted him as saying that three other power distribution companies would be privatized in the second half of next year.
The Gulf Arab state has more than 60 state-owned firms but smaller energy reserves and lower oil output than wealthy Gulf neighbors, so it faces a bigger strain on its state finances as it continues to fund welfare programs and create jobs.


Australian territory gives major status to solar plan by Singapore’s Sun Cable

Updated 47 sec ago
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Australian territory gives major status to solar plan by Singapore’s Sun Cable

  • Dozens of international developers are looking to Australia to build wind and solar farms, spurred by abundant wind and sun, falling turbine and panel costs, and corporate demand for contracts to hedge against rising power tariffs

SYDNEY: Australia’s Northern Territory has given major project status to an ambitious plan to transmit 3 gigawatts (GW) of solar power to Singapore by subsea cable, its chief minister said.
Michael Gunner said Singaporean firm Sun Cable’s proposed A$20 billion ($14 billion) solar farm near Tennant Creek would be the world’s largest, generating 10 gigawatts of power for both Darwin and Singapore.
Sun Cable plans to provide 3 gigawatts of power via 3,800 km (2,361.21 miles) of high voltage direct current transmission cable to Singapore, providing a fifth of the island nation’s electricity, according to the company’s website.
The Northern Territory — a 1.4 million sq km (540,000 sq miles) expanse of outback extending from the center of Australia to its northern coastline — awards major status to projects it sees as significant to the jurisdiction, helping companies with co-ordinated government approvals and a dedicated case manager.
Gunner said in an emailed statement that the government would negotiate a project development agreement with Sun Cable.
“Major Project Status for Sun Cable is an important step toward making this vision a reality,” he added.

BACKGROUND

International companies are looking to Australia to build wind and solar farms, attracted by abundant wind and sun and falling turbine and panel costs.

No further details about the project were available. Sun Cable could not be immediately reached for comment.
Dozens of international developers are looking to Australia to build wind and solar farms, spurred by abundant wind and sun, falling turbine and panel costs, and corporate demand for contracts to hedge against rising power tariffs.
This comes despite grid constraints and extra scrutiny from network operators to make sure that new projects do not spark blackouts such as those suffered two years ago.