Dubai private utility Utico commissions $100m trans-emirate pipeline

The utility player is also bidding on Taweelah, the world's largest desalination plant in Abu Dhabi

Private players are a rarity in the water production, distribution and transmission business in the GCC, owing to high energy intensity and cost . Sarah Dea / The National
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Utico, a UAE-based private utility player has commissioned a $100 million trans-emirate pipeline connecting emirates of Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah and Ajman.

The pipeline, which has been built sustainably, will now supply water to customers including the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority and the Federal Electricity and Water Authority.

“The pipeline can be used to pump at both ends or connect in between enabling each emirate to trade water. It also facilitates instant water supply to each emirate when connected,” Utico chief executive Richard Menezes said in a statement.

Utico, the only private player in the UAE utilities space, has a collective desalination capacity of 76 million Imperial gallons per day (MIGD) with 40 million MIGD under construction, set to be commissioned in 2019 and 2020.


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The newly commissioned pipeline’s sustainability credentials are due to its lower sweating, greater soil movement durability, higher temperatures operation and longer life, the company added in the statement.

The company said it had received investment from sovereign institutions in the Arabian Gulf, and also has a partnership with Spanish group Cobra. It is also bidding for Abu Dhabi’s  200 MIGD Taweelah project - the largest desalination project in the world.

Private players could play an increasingly important role in the development of utility projects in the UAE. In an interview with The National, Fewa director general Mohammed Saleh did not rule out privatisation of distribution and transmission of water networks in the UAE.

“If it is economically viable, then we will think about it. Today there is no decision on privatisation of the transmission and distribution grid,” he said.