The US’ Dow Chemical has signed a commercial agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) to collaborate on research and to build a pilot plant in the Gulf.

The two firms signed a memorandum of understanding in March to conduct joint research in desalination. Dow and SWCC will test desalination technologies developed by Dow Water & Process Solutions in the Gulf, including its ability to effectively handle high salinity and temperatures. The tests, which will be carried out over a period of one year will be conducted by the Saline Water Desalination Research Institute (SWDRI) in Jubail, on Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast.

SWCC is a government body responsible for treating sea water to supply potable water to coastal and inland cities in Saudi Arabia, with 32 desalination plants across the country.

Dow Chemical has a number of ventures in Saudi Arabia, including the $20bn Sadara Chemical Company joint venture being built along with state-owned Saudi Aramco, at Jubail.

The US firm is also investing in the construction of a new coatings facility at Jubail Industrial City, which will supply coatings materials for the domestic and export markets.