State firm Saudi Water Partnership Co (SWPC) has appointed a joint venture of France’s Engie and Saudi firm Mowah as the preferred bidder for the Yanbu 4 independent water producer (IWP) plant, which will have desalination capacity of 450,000 m3/d. The plant will be built at Ar Rayyis on the Saudi Red Sea coast to provide potable water to the Mecca and Medina regions. The project involves design, construction, commissioning and financing of the project as well as operation and maintenance of the plant. Yanbu 4 is one of three desalination projects being offered on the Red Sea coast, along with 600,000 m3/d Rabigh 3 and expansion of Shuqaiq 3 from 380,000 m3/d to 450,000 m3/d.

Saudi desalination is dominated by state firm SWCC, which Riyadh plans to privatize. It is the world’s largest desalination company and the kingdom’s second largest electricity generator, with respective capacities of 4.6mn m3/d and 7.2GW. However, many of the company’s assets are aging, so that the potential proceeds are limited although SWCC has been boosting its output as a percentage of total Saudi desalination ahead of the anticipated sell-off (MEES, 27 September 2019). (CONTINUED - 188 WORDS)