Saudi government to take back Ras Azzour desalination

The giant Ras Azzour desalination plant in Saudi Arabia, which was to have produced 1 million m³/d, is now unlikely to be built be private enterprise.

The Saudi government appears poised to appoint a government body to oversee the project, following the withdrawal of one company from the preferred bidder’s consortium to build the independent water and power plant (IWPP).

Saudi Arabia’s Water & Electricity Company (WEC) announced at the end of October 2008 that the consortium of Sumitomo Corporation/Aljomaih Automotive Co/Malakoff International was its first-ranked bidder for Ras Azzour IWPP. Since then, however, Malakoff from Malaysia has pulled out of the consortium and a replacement has proved elusive.

It is not clear at present which government entity will take over project implementation, which also involves an 850-1100 MW oil-fired power station.