Spanish infrastructure major Acciona said its consortium with Saudi partners Tawzea and Tamasuk has been awarded the contract for financing, construction and 25-year operation of three major sewage treatment plants in Saudi Arabia – Madinah-3, Buraydah-2 and Tabuk-2.
Acciona is already a household name in major utility and infrastructure projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, both as a developer and as an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC), and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) contractor.
Saudi Arabia hopes to raise about $55bn over the next four years as it plans to step up its nascent privatisation programme with the government seeking to boost revenue and narrow its yawning budget deficit.
Mohammed al-Jadaan, the finance minister, told the Financial Times that Riyadh had identified a pipeline of 160 projects across 16 sectors, including asset sales and public-private partnerships, through to 2025.
Riyadh’s aim is to outsource the management and financing of health infrastructure and services to the private sector, as well as city transportation networks, school buildings, airport services and water desalination and sewage treatment plants.
In addition, the new desalination plant operates with an environmentally friendly reverse osmosis technology that has been implemented based on the latest international specifications and standards, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
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 Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) has begun receiving expressions of interest (EOIs) following its issuance of requests for qualification (RFQ) for the development of its Ras Mohaisen independent water project (IWP).
UAE-based Metito Utilities Limited, and UTICO FZC; French firms ENGIE Middle East, Veolia Middle East; Egypt’s Orascom Construction, and Elsewedy Electric; Spain’s Acciona Agua; India’s Essar Power; and Japan’s Marubeni have all shown interest in the project.
Head of Privatization at the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), Ahmad Mohammad Al-Amro, said that seven regional and global companies and strategic consortia have been qualified to compete in the Ras AlKhair plant privatisation.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, Al-Amro emphasised the readiness of financing entities to collaborate with these consortia, highlighting that the competition will be offered within the upcoming days and that SWCC will receive bids in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021.
The Digital Twin – an exact digital copy of the Al-Khobar 1 Sea Water Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) plant in Saudi Arabia – allowed a specialist team in Madrid to begin testing and commissioning at the plant remotely, with only minimal staff on site.
The five-year agreement was signed virtually by Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Abdulkareem, Governor of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation, and Daniel R. Simmons, Assistant Secretary of Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy.