From AI to desalination, Saudi contractors outline their plans

The forum showcased nearly 1,000 projects planned in the Kingdom over the next 3 years

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah Financial District. Image used for illustrative purpose

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah Financial District. Image used for illustrative purpose

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RIYADH: As the curtain closed on the final day of the Future Projects Forum, the full scope of the event’s SR600 billion ($160 billion) plans was unveiled.

The online event, hosted by the Saudi Contractors Authority, showcased some of the Kingdom’s prominent companies, such as the Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC), the Tamimi Group, the King Fahd Medical City and the National Industrial Development Center. All took to the stage in a bid to attract investors, showcase expansion plans and outline the services they have to offer.

Thammer Al-Dhubib, a strategic analyst at SEC, revealed plans for more than 115 high-voltage projects to be implemented throughout the Kingdom, almost 300 maintenance and operation projects set to raise the efficiency of the electrical system and over 13 electrical grid interconnection projects designed to link regions with high voltage.

“These plans, which are mapped out between the years of 2021 and 2023, are estimated at approximately SR54 billion. These investments aim to provide electrical services that will meet subscriber expectations and be delivered to nearly a million new subscribers,” he said.

Majed Al-Rumaih, a water infrastructure planning expert at the Saudi Water Partnership Co. (SWPC), outlined the company’s goals for the coming year.

“We aim to offer desalinated water projects to the private sector, purify and treat sewage water, offer water tank projects and transportation lines, and offer water dam projects to provide drinking water,” he said. “We also intend to buy and sell desalinated and purified water, both treated and untreated,” he added. Khaled Kuraishy, CEO of SWPC, also highlighted some of the company’s achievements. “In the past two years, we have reduced our production price by 30-40 percent. We are committed to supporting local content by at least 50 percent during construction and up to 80 percent during operations.”

He also said that SWPC has the lowest global price for the production of desalinated water (approximately 46 cents per cubic meter, or SR1.74 per 1,000 liters).

The Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence announced their aim for artificial intelligence (AI) to account for 12.4 percent of the Saudi gross domestic product, as well as contribute $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

The National Center for AI also revealed plans for a project titled the “King Salman AI Oasis,” a first-of-its-kind interactive institution where users can learn about AI in an educational and entertaining atmosphere.

The CEO of electric utility company ENGIE Saudi Arabia, Turki Al-Shehri, revealed the company has projects worth $13.2 billion in the pipeline for 2021. King Fahd Medical City announced plans for several expansion works, including developing and improving the central sterilization department, the children’s dialysis department, the blood bank, the women’s emergency room and the children’s intensive care unit, all to take place during 2021.

Similarly, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University also has a planned expansion in the works. The university intends to build water reservoirs, rooms for security guards, restaurants and coffee shops — some equipped with drive-thru facilities — and warehouses and storage centers.

The forum also included presentations from companies who marketed their services to potential builders and investors, such as the Tamimi Group and the Saudi Services for Electro Mechanic Works. Held in partnership with Saudi Aramco and SABIC, the forum showcased nearly 1,000 projects planned in the Kingdom over the next three years.

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