Acwa Power wins contract for giant Saudi desal plant

27 December 2018

Saudi-based Acwa Power has won a contract to develop Rabigh 3, the world’s largest independent water desalination plant (IWP) located on the Red Sea coast, further expanding its desalination capacity in the kingdom.

A leading developer, owner and operator of power generation and water desalination plants, Acwa Power said it had submitted the lowest tariff at 0.53USD/cu m amongst 55 expressions of interest and five bidders and hence was selected to develop the desalination plant alongside the Saudi Brothers Commercial Company (SBCC) in Rabigh. Water & Electricity Company (WEC) will act as the off taker of the project, it added.

According to Acwa Power, the Rabigh 3 IWP will utilise reverse osmosis (RO) technology to yield a capacity of 600,000 cu m per day.

The innovative design of this plant ensures the highest efficiency, reliability and availability for any comparable plant in the world. The water output will cater to the water demand of Makkah and Jeddah.

This will ensure consistent, reliable and steady water supply to the citizens of the two cities and village, especially during demand peak periods such as Ramadan and Hajj seasons, it stated.

The water purchase agreement was signed by Engineer Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al Fadley, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture and chairman of WEC.

On the contract win, Acwa Power Chairman Mohammad Abunayyan said: "We take extreme pride in securing another milestone in the kingdom that contributes to the welfare of Saudi Arabia’s economy and its citizens. As a private company, we work continuously to guarantee the right investment is being injected in the kingdom through private public partnerships to achieve the ambitious goals of the Saudi Vision 2030."

Rabigh 3 IWP, he stated, will deliver potable water at the lowest cost achieved to date for RO while consuming the least amount of power for each cubic meter of water produced and is consequently another important step in elevating living standards in the kingdom.

"Rabigh 3 IWP will contribute to economic progress and increased employment opportunities, helping the kingdom reach the highest levels of prosperity," noted Abunayyan.                                                                                                                     

Managing director Thamer Al Sharhan said: "We are delighted to add another flagship project to our kingdom’s portfolio, proving our consistent support to the Saudi economy and its people. The world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant validates the thesis that a local developer places the interests of the home country as its utmost priority."

"Offering the lowest tariffs without compromising on reliability of water supply, all the while ensuring affordable clean water access to the citizens of Makkah and Jeddah. We take pride in setting the direction and being a strong driver of the progressive vision of Saudi Arabia," noted Al Sharhan.

"The Rabigh 3 IWP is being procured under a 25-year build-own-operate (BOO) contract and will commence commercial operation on December 31, he added.