The $251m plant will have a capacity of 200,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) and will be built on a build-own-operate basis. A project company, Almiyah Attlemcania, has been set up and is 51 per cent owned by the Malakoff-Hyflux consortium.

AEC owns the remaining 49 per cent.

The project will be 80 per cent debt financed by Banque Nationale Agricole, with 20 per cent financed through equity from Almiyah Attlemcania.

Sonatrach will purchase the desalinated water from the plant before selling it on to the state-owned water company Algerienne des Eaux (AdE).

Four more desalination plants are planed in the country.

Requests for proposals have been issued for a 100,000 cm/d plant at Oued Sebt, a 500,000 cm/d plant at Mecta, a 100,000 cm/d facility at Tenes and a 50,000 cm/d plant at El-Tarf.

AEC is owned by Sonatrach, Sonelgaz and AdE.