EXCLUSIVE: Saudi Arabia receives five bids for Rabigh 3 IWP

03 July 2018
Desalination plant will have a capacity of 600,000 cubic metres a day

Saudi Arabia’s Water & Electricity Company (WEC) has received proposals from five groups for the planned 600,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) Rabigh 3 independent water project (IWP).

The five bidding groups are:

  • Acwa Power (local)
  • FCC Aqualia (Spain), HAACO (local), Nesma (local), Cobra (Spain)
  • Marubeni (Japan), Acciona (Spain), Abdul Latif Jameel (local), Rawafid (local)
  • Veolia (France), Marafiq (local), Ammwal (local), Advance Water Technology (local)
  • Valoriza (Spain), Al-Jomaih Holding (local), Al-Blagha Holding for Investments (local)

The client 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 originally planned to tender and award a standard engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to develop the plant. MEED reported in late 2015 that the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (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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