Acciona awarded $384m contract to build desalination plant in Saudi Arabia

The Shuqaiq 1 plant is expected to improve drinking water supply in the kingdom's south-west

The Kingdom Tower stands in the night above the Saudi capital Riyadh November 16, 2007.  REUTERS/Ali Jarekji  (SAUDI ARABIA) - GM1DWPNRBQAA
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Spanish company Acciona and its local partner Al Rashid Trading & Contracting Company, or RTCC, secured a $384 million contract to build a desalination plant on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast as the kingdom looks to increase the capacity of its water supply.

The contract was awarded by state-owned Saline Water Conversion Corporation and will have a production capacity of 400,000 cubic metres per day, Acciona said on Tuesday.

The Shuqaiq 1 plant “will help to improve the supply of drinking water and offset water shortages in south-west Saudi Arabia by providing a new source of potable water”, it said.

The desalination plant is Acciona’s fifth in the country and the third awarded to the company by SWCC.

It is expected to be completed in 2023.

Last year, Acciona won a $530m contract for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant with a capacity of 450,000 cubic metres per day.

The plant is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in 2021.

The company is also developing the Al Khobar reverse osmosis plant in Khobar on the east coast with a capacity of 630,000 cubic metres per day.

Acciona has also designed and built Al Jubail reverse osmosis seawater desalination plant with a capacity of 100,000 cubic metres per day.

The plant serves both the city of Jubail and its industrial complex in the Eastern Province.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, is planning to use public-private partnerships with local and foreign companies to fund infrastructure projects and diversify its economy away from oil.

Last month, SWCC's governor Abdullah Al-Abdul Kareem said the amount of desalinated water produced by SWCC and private sector partners had increased to 7.9 million cubic metres per day, up from 5.3 million cubic metres per day in 2016.

He said that plans were in place to increase capacity by 4 million cubic metres, according to SWCC's website. Capacity will top 10.4 million cubic metres per day within two years.

The kingdom's National Water Company is also inviting private sector participation to build and run a series of new wastewater treatment plants across the country.

NWC is issuing tenders inviting private companies to participate in developing 114 sewage treatment plants with a total capacity of 5.1 million cubic metres per day, as part of its 2030 National Water Strategy, it said in July.