EXCLUSIVE: Developers finalising proposals for Rabigh 3 IWP

25 June 2018
Desalination plant will have a capacity of 600,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d)

Developers are finalising bid proposals for the planned Rabigh 3 independent water project (IWP) in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s Water & Electricity Company (WEC) issued the request for proposals (RFP) for the planned 600,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) Rabigh 3 project to prequalified developers in February. According to sources close to the project, developers are finalising proposals before the deadline, with no extension having been granted.

The prequalified groups, with lead developer first, are:

  • Acwa Power (local)
  • Engie (France)
  • FCC Aqualia (Spain), Nesma (local), Cobra (Spain), Haji Abdullah Alireza & Company (HAACO)
  • JGC (Japan)
  • Malakoff (Malaysia)
  • Marubeni (Japan), Acciona (Spain), Abdullatif Jameel (local), Rawafid Holding (local)
  • Suez Group (France), El-Seif Engineering (local), Gulf Investment Corporation (Kuwait)
  • Valoriza (Spain)
  • Veolia (France), Marafiq (local), Amwal al-Khaleej (local), Advanced Water (local)

The client, which is 50 per cent owned by state utilities Saudi Electricity Company and Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), is aiming to sign the water purchase agreement with the successful bidder by 1 November, with financial close due by 31 December 2018. The scheduled commissioning date for the plant is December 2021.

The reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plant will have a capacity of up to 600,000 (cm/d), expandable to 1.2 million (cm/d). The project will have a 25-year concession period, with WEC as the offtaker, supported by a payment guarantee from the government.

The lead adviser for the IWP is the local Banque Saudi Fransi. The client has appointed Germany’s Fichtner Engineering and Consulting as the technical adviser, the UK’s DLA Piper as legal adviser and the UK’s Alderbrook as financial adviser.

The client had originally been planning to tender and award a standard engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to develop the plant. MEED reported in late 2015 that SWCC was planning to issue tender documents for the EPC deal by February 2016.

However, as with the vast majority of the kingdom’s major upcoming utilities projects, the plant will now be delivered through a public-private partnership (PPP) model as the kingdom seeks to reduce pressure on capital expenditure caused by lower oil revenues.

The Rabigh 3 desalination facility will service the cities of Jeddah, Mecca, Taif and surrounding villages.

SWCC is increasing the role of private investment in the desalination sector as part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative. 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.

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