French utility companies share expertise in Muscat

Business Monday 18/March/2019 15:52 PM
By: Times News Service
French utility companies share expertise in Muscat

Muscat: Three major French utility companies operating in Oman shared their expertise with local stakeholders as part of the ongoing French Week celebrations.

Senior leaders of utility giants' Suez, Veolia, and Engie spoke about the important role of water resources, conservation, Private Public Partnerships (PPP) and innovation in the Sultanate during the Water Utilities Conference organised at the Crowne Plaza Muscat. They were joined by officials from Daim, Haya Water, and MEDRC.

The Ambassador of France to Oman, Renaud Salins, said, "This event is part of the business segment of the second edition of French Week, along with other aspects including luxury and culture. In this regard, looking at the presence of our companies in Oman, it was obvious for us to co-organise with our French companies a special event.

"The idea of French week is to bring to Oman the best of France and here they are, Veolia, Suez, and Engie," he added.

Speaking about the important role of asset management, Sebastien Lesur, Suez's Middle East Water Services Director, shared, "When you say sustainable water management and asset management, the issue here is to maintain these assets in the best way to face the increasing demand in population in terms of services, to reduce the cost of the services. These issues are very important to the management of the water sector.

"This management of assets requires a global approach, that is to say, it needs to include the entire water cycle with a global view of both the OPEX and CAPEX balance. A long-term commitment to performance and the use of technologies that allow for good assessments of assets is also required to ensure they are managed in the best way," he added.

"The main issue for the water sector in Oman is first of all the increase in water demand by 25 percent per year due to industrial and tourism development as well the increase in population. This means the development of new resources, the development of networks," Lesur stated in regards to challenges within the sector.

Offering an example of the company's expertise in action, Lesur said, "In Casablaca the Suez group is uses more than 300 sensors on networks to regulate the pressure in the network and by doing so we can save more than 5 million cubic meter of water per year in terms of network performance."

On PPP's, Erwan Rouxel, Veolia's Contracts Representative-Oman, said the Sultanate was ideal for such arrangements, explaining, "Oman ensures and provides vision and trust. Vision because for many years now, the Sultanate has been implementing a strong and clear strategy in terms of development, especially with regards to infrastructure, waste, waster water and so on."

"Regarding trust, its obvious that everyone can benefit from the political stability of Oman. We can all benefit from the high-level quality of the government of Oman and the people of the Sultanate. I think that Oman is probably the most trustworthy country in the region and clearly a good place for us to develop our business," Rouxel added.

On tourism, Lesur stated, "In Oman, they are developing the kind of tourism that is respectful to nature and the environment and biodiversity."

"Private companies like Suez, Engie, and Veolia can help to develop this kind of tourism by following different solutions to secure the water production and distribution to enhance tourist facilities, and of course different kind of solutions to protect the environment and reduce the environmental footprint in general."

Describing his company's ongoing work with Haya Water, Remi Luthereau, Country Manager of Seureca Veolia, stated, "We have worked with Haya Water to define the wastewater master plan for all regions except the Governorate of Muscat. That means defining the technical needs and investments plans that would be needed to match the objectives of 2045."

"A master plan approach is a multi-disciplinary one, where you have to be current but must also look at population growth, technical solutions to treat wastewater, the environmental aspect, and socio-economics," he explained.

During the event, speakers also touched on water stress in Oman, smart plants, and building local capacities.