Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) is aiming to begin the procurement process for a 600,000 cubic metre a day (cm/d) desalination plant in the first quarter of 2017.

The planned Rabigh 3 plant will be developed under the independent water project (IWP) model. The 600,000 cm/d facility will use reverse osmosis (RO) technology. MEED reported in November last year that SWCC had invited consultants to submit proposals for the financial advisory role on the planned IWP. According to sources close to the project, the client is planning to begin the procurement process for the project in the first quarter of this year.

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 project, 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 desalination facility will service the cities of Jeddah, Mecca, Taif and surrounding villages.