Saudi Arabia’s Marafiq has awarded France’s Veolia Water a $310m contract to build a water desalination plant to supply the Sadara petrochemical complex in Jubail Industrial City.

The plant will have a capacity of 178,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) and will be the largest reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plant in Saudi Arabia. The Sadara petrochemical plant is being built by the US’ Dow Chemical and Saudi Aramco at the Jubail industrial zone, located in the Eastern Province of the kingdom.

The desalination plant is scheduled to begin operation in June 2015. Veoila will collect an additional $92m in revenue for operating the plant for 10 years, with an option to extend the contract for a further 20 years after this period.

In June, Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical signed the $12.5bn debt financing for the $19.3bn Sadara chemical project, which is expected to be the largest project finance transaction in the world in 2013.

The Sadara complex will produce several speciality chemicals aimed at pushing Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals industry further downstream. The complex will have a capacity of about 8 million tonnes a year (t/y) and is scheduled for completion in late 2016.

The first contract awards were made in mid-2011 and winning bidders have included South Korea’s Daelim Industrial and Daewoo Engineering & Construction as well as engineering contractors such the US’ Fluor Corporation, Jacobs Engineering and Foster Wheeler. Germany’s Linde was awarded the gas supply contract.