Abdul Latif Jameel Energy’s Almar Water Solutions Break Ground on Shuqaiq 3, Saudi Arabia’s Second Largest Desalination Plant
- Ceremony to break ground marks project construction start for US$ 600m investment
- The plant’s production capacity of 450,000 cubic meters per day will supply drinking water to more than 1.8 million people
- The project will be executed under a 25-year BOO (build, own, operate) contract, and its completion is planned for the fourth quarter of 2021.
Almar Water Solutions, a leading company in the development of water infrastructure and Abdul Latif Jameel Energy’s dedicated water solutions unit, held a ceremony to mark the start of the project construction for the Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant, together with Acciona, Marubeni Corporation, Rawafid Alhadarah Holding Co and Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC).
Shuqaiq 3 reached its’ US$ 600 million investment financial close in May this year. It is expected to be one of the largest reverse osmosis desalination plants in the world, with a production capacity of 450,000 cubic meters per day. The project will be executed under a 25-year BOO (build, own, operate) contract, and its completion is planned for the fourth quarter of 2021.
The Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant will significantly relieve the water shortage in the area, supplying drinking water to more than 1.8 million people, in addition to contributing to the country’s economic and industrial development and creating around 700 employment opportunities between the construction start and final commissioning of the plant.
The event took place at the plant’s designated construction site, on the shores of the Red Sea, approximately 137 kilometers to north of Jizan in Saudi Arabia. The ceremony was attended by Eng. Faisal S. El Samannoudi, Vice Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel CDC, together with Santiago Martínez, Managing Director of Almar Water Solutions. HE Álvaro Iranzo, Spanish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and José Ramón Ferrandis Muñoz, the Counsellor for Economic and Financial Affairs of the Spanish Embassy in Riyadh, also attended.
Khaled Al Qureshi, CEO of Saudi Water Partnership Company, said:
“Water is a vital resource and a critical fuel for economic growth and prosperity. As Saudi Arabia’s second largest desalination plan after Rabigh 3 IWP, and one of the largest in the world, Shuqaiq 3 is a game-changer for the industry. Its completion will allow a much-needed supply increase in drinking water for the country and the region.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Eng. Faisal S. El Samannoudi said:
“The Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant demonstrates Abdul Latif Jameel’s role as leading player in the GCC’s energy sector. Through its dedicated water solutions units, Almar, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy are meeting the region’s growing demands as it faces some of the most pressing energy challenges in the world. We are proud to be a part of the move towards achieving sustainable development in Saudi Arabia and further afield.”
The project is of such importance that last month it received the ‘Utilities Project of the Year’ award at the Middle East Energy Awards 2019 held in Dubai, making it one of the flagship projects in the region.
According to the World Water Development Report 2019, the Middle East is the region of the World with the most severe water scarcity. While the average water availability worldwide is 7,453m3 per capita per annum, in the Middle East this drops to only 736m3, according to the latest available figures from AQUASTAT (n.d.). Water shortage per capita has been increasing and is expected to rise in the future due to population growth and climate change. This trend has also contributed to the over-exploitation of groundwater and the loss of arable land for agriculture.
For this reason, the Middle East is one of the regions where Almar Water Solutions is focusing its efforts to develop innovative and sustainable projects, to guarantee sufficient water quality and quantity for its population. The Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant will help mitigate the shortage suffered by the inhabitants of the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia, providing a new source of drinking water for both domestic, urban agricultural and industrial use.