The 600,000 cubic metres per day Rabigh-3 Independent Water Plant (IWP) project in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia has started trial operations ahead of schedule, the Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) said last week.
SWPC tweeted on 5th November that the project, which is the biggest reverse osmosis-based desalination plant in the world, has started trial operations two months ahead of schedule.
The commissioning of the plant was scheduled for the first quarter of 2022, according to a 14 July press statement by Spanish contractor Abengoa, a member of its Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) consortium. Other members are SEPCOIII (Power China) and SIDEM (Veolia).
The 2.625 million Saudi riyal ($700 million) desalination project will supply drinking water to more than three million people in the cities of Makkah Al-Mokarramah, Jeddah and Mastorah.
SWPC said in its tweet that the project achieved local content of 40 percent of the capital value during the construction phase and 70 percent during the operating phase.
SWPC said Rabigh 3 is the first desalination project of its size in the private sector with a 100 percent Saudi workforce and also 100 percent owned by Saudi investors.
A Saudi consortium of ACWA Power and Saudi Brothers Commercial Company (SBCC) owns 70 percent and and 30 percent respectively of the project's holding company Rabigh Three Company (RTC), according to past statements from ACWA Power.
In December 2018, ACWA Power had signed a 25-year Water Purchase Agreement (WPA) with SWPC's predecessor Water & Electricity Company (WEC) after winning the project with the lowest tariff of 0.53USD/m3 (1.99 SAR/m3).
(Writing by SA Kader; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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