• SWCC planning to commission nine new plants with a capacity of more than 3 million cubic metres a day by 2020
  • Eight of the nine planned plants will use reverse osmosis technology
  • A further 10 strategic desalination projects are in the pipeline for 2025 and 2030

Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) is planning to commission nine new desalination plants with a total capacity of more than 3 million cubic metres a day (cm/d) by 2020.

SWCC also has a further 4.6 million cm/d of strategic projects in the pipeline for commissioning between 2025 and 2030.

The largest project planned by 2020 is the 1.5 million cubic-metre-a-day Jubail 3 desalination plant, which will have a combined 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 reverse osmosis (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 8 plants planned are all RO facilities.

Plants under design
Commission date Plants Design capacity (cm/d) Technology Power (MW)
2017 Haql 3 9,000 RO  
2017 Duba 4 9,000 RO  
2017 AlWajh 4 9,000 RO  
2018 Alugair 10,000 RO  
2019 Jeddah 4 400,000 RO  
2019 Omluj 4 15,000 RO  
2020 Rabigh 3 600,000 RO  
2020 Jubail 3 1,500,000 Thermal/RO 3,000
2020 Yanbu 4 450,000 RO  
Source: SWCC

The first three plants planned are the smaller Haql 3, Duba 4 and Al-Wajh plants, 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 Alugair scheme is the 400,000 Jeddah 4 RO plant, which is scheduled to be commissioned in 2019. SWCC recently awarded the US’ Black & Veatch a contract to provide engineering and design consultancy services on the fourth-phase expansion of the Jeddah desalination plant.

Also planned for commissioning in 2019 is the much smaller 15,000 cm/d Omluj 4 project.

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

The SWCC currently has the 1,025,000 cm/d Ras al-Khair, power capacity of 2,400MW, and 550,000 Yanbu 3, power capacity of 3,000MW, under construction.  

Strategic projects planned between 2025 and 2030
Commission date Plants Design capacity (cm/d)
2025 Shuaiba 4 850,000
2025 Shuqaiq 3 325,000
2025 Al-Khobar 4 775,000
2025 Duba 5 12,000
2025 Haql 4 7,500
2030 Jeddah 5 400,000
2030 Rabigh 4 600,000
2030 Ras al-Khair 2 1,000,000
2030 Yanbu 5 400,000
Source: SWCC

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest consumer of desalinated water, is planning the proposed projects to cope with the expected domestic and industrial demand. Saudi Arabia 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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