Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has awarded a contract to the US’ Black & Veatch to provide engineering and design consultancy services on the fourth-phase expansion of its Jeddah desalination plant.

The reverse osmosis (RO) plant’s capacity will be expanded by 400,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d). The contract will be tendered on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.

Phase three of the project, which added 243,000 cm/d, was completed by a joint venture of South Korea’s Doosan and the local Water & Environment Technologies Company (Wetico). Phases 1 and 2 each have a capacity of 48,848 cm/d, and were commissioned in 1989 and 1994 respectively.

The plant replaced a 40-year-old multistage flash desalination facility and was the largest RO facility in the kingdom. It has been surpassed by the Ras al-Khair desalination plant, which has a capacity of 1.1 million cm/d.

SWCC has received main contract bids for the Haql 3, Duba 4 and Al-Wajh 4 RO desalination plants, which will all have a capacity of 9,000 cm/d. An award is also expected for the 72,800-cm/d phase two expansion of the Shoaiba multi-effect distillation desalination facility.

The firm is also in the study phase of a massive expansion of the Rabigh RO desalination plant to 600,000 cm/d.

Total water consumption in Saudi Arabia reaches about 24 billion cubic metres a year (cm/y), of which desalinated water provides about 1.3 billion cm/y, from 30 plants. However, the kingdom will require almost a billion gallons a day of additional capacity to meet demand and reserve margin needs by 2020.