Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power has reached financial close for the 250,000 cubic metre a day (cm/d) Shuaiba 3 independent water project (IWP) expansion.

The project will have a total cost of $325m, and will be 100 per cent owned by Acwa Power. The developer has signed an offtake agreement with the Water & Electricity Company (WEC), which is a joint venture between Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC). The India/US Synergy Consulting was financial adviser to WEC and SWCC for the IWP.

MEED reported in April that Acwa Power had signed an agreement with a joint venture of Italy’s Salini Impregilo and Spain’s Abengoa for a $255m deal to build the 250,000 cm/d desalination plant expansion.

Under the financing, Acwa Power will receive an equity bridge loan for a period of two years from the local Arab National Bank, and has arranged $275m of debt with six international institutions. The developer will have a debt commitment of $50m with the following institutions:

  • Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Japan)
  • Korea Development Bank (South Korea)
  • Standard Chartered Bank (UK)
  • Samsung Life Insurance (South Korea)
  • KB Insurance Company (South Korea)

Acwa Power received the remaining $25m from France’s Natixis.

The original Shuaiba 3 IWPP and Shuaiba 3 IWPP first-phase desalination expansion were commissioned in 2009, with the first expansion project integrating RO technology into the development.

The Shuaiba 3 IWPP was developed by a consortium of Acwa Power and Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Malakoff.

SWCC is increasing the role of private investment in the desalination sector as part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030. It is also preparing to privatise existing assets. SWCC forecasts it needs to increase the current desalination capacity of 5.1 million cm/d to 7.3 million cm/d by 2020 to meet growing demand.