Alqureshi touring the Jubail 3A desalination plant site.

Saudi Water Partnerships Company (SWPC) has announced that construction work is ongoing at a steady pace  on the Jubail 3A reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plant in the Eastern Province.

A key independent water project (IWP), the 600,000-cu-m-per-day plant is located 18 km south of Jubail Industrial City along the Arabian Gulf coast, adjacent to the existing plant units (Jubail Phase 1, Jubail Phase 2 and Jubail RO plants).

A consortium led by Acwa Power, a leading Saudi developer, investor and operator of power generation and desalinated water plants, in association with Gulf Investment Company (GIC) and Al Bawani Water and Power Company (AWP), is developing the project.

It had last year won the project with a world-record tariff of 41 US cents per cu m for desalinated potable water.

“With work in full swing, commercial operations are likely to begin in the last quarter of 2022,” said Khaled Alqureshi, the CEO of Saudi Water Partnerships Company, after an inspection tour of the project site.

The engineering and construction team had achieved great success at the project site clocking 6 million safe working hours, stated Alqureshi.

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work is being handled by a consortium of Sepco III, Power China and Abengoa. The operations and maintenance agreement was signed with an affiliate of First National Operations & Maintenance Company (Nomac).

Meanwhile, SWPC has announced that a total of 31 utility project developers have expressed interest in the Riyadh-Qassim Independent Water Transmission Pipeline (IWTP) project, which runs 1,392 km long and has a transmission capacity of up to 685,000 cu m per day. Of the 31 firms, 19 are from Saudi Arabia, according to SWPC.

The top international companies eyeing the project include Spanish infrastructure majors Acciona and Abengoa Agua; Germany’s Passavant Energy & Environment; Japan’s Marubeni; in addition to top Chinese builders Gezhouba Group, China Harbour Engineering and Powerchina International.

Among the top Saudi firms in the race are Ajlan & Bros; Al Bawani Water & Power (AWP); Nesma; Alkhorayef Water and Power Technologies; Al Fahd Company; Sicim; Arabian Bemco Contracting; Hassan Allam Holding; Mowah and Tecton Engineering & Construction Saudi Contracting.

The regional heavyweights who have expressed interests in the project are Gulf Investment Corporation and Alghanim International General Trading & Contracting (both from Kuwait); Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa); Egypt’s Orascom Construction and Bahrain-based Lamar Holding, it stated.

According to SWPC, the project is being implemented on a BOOT (build, own, operate and transfer) model.