Seven groups to bid for $3.5bn Jubail desalination plant privatisation project

Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation names prequalified entities for Ras Al Khair desalination and cogeneration plant tender

The upcoming tender for the privatisation of Saudi Arabia’s Ras Al Khair desalination and power plant situated north of Jubail city, will see seven groups from various parts of the world participating after they were prequalified by the country’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) for the project valued at an estimated $3.5bn.

The entities prequalified by SWCC to participate in the bidding process are Engie from France, Japan’s Jera and Marubeni Corporation, NTPC from India, local Saudi company Acwa Power and the joint Saudi-Chinese entity China Power International Holding/Ajlan & Bros Energy Company, as well as another unnamed consortium of Asian companies.

According to the SWCC, the winning bidder will acquire a 60% share in the Ras Al Khair project company, giving it management and operational control of the plant. According to several media reports, SWCC has not yet issued the request for proposals (RFP) for the privatisation but is expected to do so soon.

The SWCC received the prequalification documents on October 15 last year, while it had earlier bene reported in June that the corporation had received expressions of interest from 37 firms for the project.

The privatisation process is being overseen by the Kingdom’s Supervisory Committee for the privatisation of the water sector with support from the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA), National Centre for Privatisation (NCP) and Saudi Water Partnerships Company (SWPC).

The Ras Al Khair plant has an operational desalination capacity of 1.05 million cubic metres a day (cm/d) and a power generation capacity of 2.65GW. The plant is currently said to be valued at $3.3-3.5bn and has some of the largest desalination capacities in the world, delivered through a hybrid-configuration of multi-stage flash (MSF) thermal desalination and reverse osmosis (RO) membrane technology. MSF accounts for about 70& of total capacity, with RO accounting for the remainder.

The RO plant has been in operation since 2014, with the MSF desalination component and the power generation capacity coming online in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The water desalination plant was built by South Korea’s Doosan, with China’s Sepco 3 delivering the power plant. The power plant has gas turbines installed from Germany’s Siemens.


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