Singaporean firm signs agreement for desalination plants in Saudi Arabia

15 February 2017

Water company will design and build three desalination plants across the kingdom

Singapore-based Hyflux has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with state utility Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) to design and build three desalination plants in Saudi Arabia.

The three desalination plants, at Duba, Wajh and Haql, will have a capacity of 16,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d), and will have a combined value of about SR687 ($183m).

The plants will all utilise reverse osmosis (RO) technology.

The desalination projects have faced a number of delays in the procurement and bidding stage, with bids received from contractors in November 2015.

The projects are likely to be the last design and build contracts awarded for major water projects in the kingdom, with SWCC and the National Water Company (NWC) both planning to tender and develop all future desalination and wastewater projects through public-private partnership (PPP) models.

MEED reported in January that SWCC was 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 2016 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.

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