Saudi Arabia is planning to publish the business plan for privatising the country’s desalinated water company before the end of the first quarter of 2017.

Ali al-Hazmi, governor of state desalinated water provider Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), the largest producer of desalinated water in the world, said that the company would announce its business plan for privatising existing assets in the coming couple of months.

“The plan for privatising [SWCC] has been approved by the ministry and the business plan for the privatisation will be announced before the end of March,” said Al-Hazmi, speaking at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi on 17 January.

The governor said that privatisation of the first assets would likely be completed within a period of two years.

Al-Hazmi said that in addition to unbundling and privatising the existing assets of SWCC, all future major desalination projects in the kingdom would be undertaken by the private sector under the independent water and power plant (IWPP) model.

“Anything new will be under privatisation, and brownfield [assets] will be under privatisation.”

The privatisation of SWCC is part of the kingdom’s plans to privatise its utilities sector in order to increase competition and efficiency in the sector while reducing the burden on state budgets.

State power provider Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) is also planned to be privatised. The utility is planning to complete the unbundling and privatisation the first generation company, which will own about 20GW, in 2017.