(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) In a major expansion drive outside of the United Arab Emirates, the Abu Dhabi-based Ghantoot Group will invest 500 million (Dh1.83 billion) in various projects in Oman s hospitality, water and power sectors.
A top official for Ghantoot Group said that starting 2012, the Group plans to establish two power plants, three hotels and investment in other facilities in water desalination, transmission and distribution and oil and gas projects aimed to benefit the Sultanate, the UAE daily (Emirates Business) reported Monday.
The first power plant, of 140MW capacity, will be set up in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE to supply electricity exclusively to Musandam, in Oman, and adjoining areas, while another power plant, of 120MW capacity, will be set up in central Oman at a site to be finalised soon. When completed, the two plants will provide power to Omani consumers at a lower cost to the government.
The Group, which has diversified business interests across the Middle East, also plans to invest in hospitality portfolio by building a 320-room resort hotel in Musandam, and another two hotels featuring 600 rooms in total. Altogether, the projects will create more than 2,000 jobs for Omani nationals, while preserving the natural beauty and environment of Mussandam and adjoining areas.
Rashid AlBalooshi, Managing Director of Ghantoot Group, said that the Group is currently in discussion with government bodies in Oman to finalise the proposal. "Over the past few years, the Sultanate of Oman has taken huge strides in driving its economy forward and generating jobs for its nationals. We are keen to partner with the Oman government and play a constructive role in the country s development," he added "Our investment in Oman reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth regions in the Middle East."
The hotel planned for Musandam and the power plant will create 300 jobs for Omanis as well as more importantly, sustain the environment which has remained unpolluted, AlBalooshi said. It is proposed that the power for Musandam will be transmitted from the UAE s Ras Al Khaimah emirate, located only 15 km from the Oman border.
AlBalooshi also stated that a specialized training centre with a reputed UK college will provide training for UAE and Omani candidates also to enter the utilities sector with diplomas and on-the-job apprentice studies. This will greatly help in alleviating the local shortage of skills required for the utilities industry.
Conservative estimates point out that Oman will be able to benefit more than US1 billion through direct investment savings and other water and power production cost savings alone, once the projects are implemented.