The Power & Utility Company for Jubail & Yanbu (Marafiq) is drawing up a request for proposals for an interim power plant at Yanbu, after plans to develop larger facilities in the area were scrapped in mid-2009.

Contractors submitted their expressions of interest in the interim scheme in late January. Marafiq’s management has now received approval from the company’s board to prepare the basic design documents and the request for proposals for the project.

The company has divided the project into four packages covering power and water; marine works; seawater intake system and networks; and pipelines and tanks.

The interim scheme was initially set to have 600-700MW of power capacity, but Marafiq has yet to finalise this and the final capacity could be slightly higher.

The facility will also have a small desalination capacity of 13 million gallons a day (g/d) of water.

Contractors say Marafiq has not indicated when it will invite them to prequalify or when the project is due to come on line.

Marafiq decided to go ahead with the scheme after plans to develop two separate independent water and power projects (IWPP) in the area were cancelled by the government in 2009.

In July 2008, Water & Electricity Minister Abdullah al-Hussayen announced that Marafiq would merge its planned Yanbu IWPP with the Yanbu 3 IWPP planned by Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC).

The government also decided to scrap plans to develop the joint project as a private utility scheme and instead said it would go ahead on the basis of an engineering, procurement and construction contract.

Marafiq’s interim scheme will help meet demand in the Yanbu area ahead of the completion of the merged project, which will have capacity of 1,700MW of power and 121 million g/d of desalinated water.

The project will be managed by a new special purpose vehicle, which will be set up as a partnership between the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Marafiq and Saudi Electricity Company.

The PIF is likely to provide most of the finance required for the project. Marafiq’s share of the plant’s output will be 650MW of electricity and 33 million g/d of water. Saudi Electricity Company and SWCC will take the remaining power and water respectively.