Ground broken on Shuqaiq RO desal plant as $500m financing secured

A special purpose company led by Japanese conglomerate Maurebeni is bulding the Shuqaiq 3 Independent Water Project

Construction on Shuqaiq 3 IWP has started.
Construction on Shuqaiq 3 IWP has started.

A special purpose company led by Japanese conglomerate Maurebeni has started construction on a reverse osmosis (RO) desalinisation plant in the Saudi Arabian town of Shuqaiq after signing a $500m loan agreement.

The Shuqaiq 3 Independent Water Project will generate 450,000m3/day of water, serving a population of approximately two million, said Maurebeni in a statement.

Spanish contractor Acciona; Abdul Latif Jameel Commercial Development Company (ALJ); and Rawafid Alhadarah are also involved in its construction, operation, and maintenance, alongside Maurebeni.

The loan agreement of approximately $500m took the form of co-financing among six commercial banks – MUFG; Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank; The National Commercial Bank; The Norinchukin Bank; Samba Financial Group; and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

Water produced by the plant will be sold over the course of a 25-year period beginning in 2021, which is the target completion date for the plant.

Reverse osmosis-based desalination plants, which are independent and do not require a fire-based power plant to operate, are gaining traction in the kingdom, reflecting a wider trend towards renewable energy.

The update comes roughly five months after the Maurebeni announced it had won the contract to construct, own, operate, and maintain the project.

Marubeni is no stranger to the Middle East, with the firm already involved with four independent water and power projects supplying 2,000,000m3/day of water in the UAE.

It also runs water utility companies in Chile, the Philippines, and Portugal.

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