Saudi Arabia invites bids for major desalination plant

08 October 2015

Reverse osmosis plant will have total capacity of 400,000 cubic metres a day

  • Contractors have been invited to submit bids by 1 December for Jeddah 4 project
  • SWCC planning to commission nine new plants with a capacity of more than 3 million cubic metres a day by 2020
  • A further 10 strategic desalination projects are in the pipeline for 2025 and 2030

Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has tendered the main construction contract for the 400,000 cubic-metre-a-day (cm/d) Jeddah 4 desalination plant.

SWCC has invited contractors to submit proposals for the reverse osmosis (RO) plant by 1 December.

In December 2014, MEED reported that the US’ Black & Veatch was awarded the deal to provide engineering and design consultancy services on the Jeddah 4 desalination project.

The fourth phase of the Jeddah project will expand the site’s capacity by 400,000 cm/d. SWCC has set a target of commissioning the desalination project in 2019.

The project is one of nine new desalination plants that SWCC, with a total capacity of more than 3 cm/d, is planning to commission by the end of 2020.

The largest project planned by 2020 is the 1.5 million-cm/d Jubail 3 desalination plant, which will have a combined-cycle power plant with a capacity of 3,000MW. The Jubail 3 facility is scheduled to be commissioned in 2020 and will utilise a combination of thermal desalination and RO technology.  MEED recently reported that SWCC is planning to issue tenders for the plant in January 2016, with a submission date in May.

The remaining eight planned plants, including the Jeddah 4 plant, are all RO facilities.

Plants under design
Commissioning datePlantDesign capacity (cm/d)TechnologyPower (MW)
2017Haql 39,000ROna
2017Duba 49,000ROna
2017Al-Wajh 49,000ROna
2019Jeddah 4400,000ROna
2019Omluj 415,000ROna
2020Rabigh 3600,000ROna
2020Jubail 31,500,000Thermal/RO3,000
2020Yanbu 4450,000ROna
RO=Reverse osmosis; na=Not available. Source: SWCC

The first three plants planned are the smaller Haql 3, Duba 4 and Al-Wajh facilities, which will each have a capacity of 9,000 cm/d. SWCC received bids in late 2014 for the three RO desalination projects, and has set a commissioning date of 2017 for all three facilities.

The next planned project is an estimated 10,000-cm/d RO project in Alugair.

Following the Jeddah 4 project is the much smaller 15,000-cm/d Omluj 4 project, also planned for commissioning in 2019.

A total of three major desalination projects are planned to come online in 2020. In addition to the Jubail 3 facility, the 600,000-cm/d Rabigh 3 and 450,000-cm/d Yanbu 4 plants are being proposed.

SWCC currently has the 1,025,000-cm/d Ras al-Khair plant with a power capacity of 2,400MW, as well as the 550,000-cm/d Yanbu 3 plant with a power capacity of 3,000MW, under construction.  

Strategic projects planned between 2025 and 2030
Commissioning datePlantDesign capacity (cm/d)
2025Shuaiba 4850,000
2025Shuqaiq 3325,000
2025Al-Khobar 4775,000
2025Duba 512,000
2025Haql 47,500
2030Jeddah 5400,000
2030Rabigh 4600,000
2030Ras al-Khair 21,000,000
2030Yanbu 5400,000
cm/d=Cubic metres a day. Source: SWCC

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest consumer of desalinated water, is planning the proposed projects to cope with expected domestic and industrial demand. The kingdom will account for 40 per cent of the forecast additional 2,233 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD) of desalination capacity required in the GCC by 2020, according to latest research from MEED’s research division MEED Insight.

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