US$ 400 million funding agreed for Sorek desalination

The consortium building the Sorek seawater reverse-osmosis desalination plant in Israel announced on 23 May 2011 that it has entered into agreements to obtain US$ 400 million in project financing to construct and operate the plant.

Sorek Desalination Ltd (SDL), a company formed by IDE Technologies (51%) and Hutchison Water International Holdings Pte Ltd (49%), has agreed financing with the European Investment Bank, Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi.

SDL was recently selected by the government of Israel, in a competitive tender process, to build and operate the Sorek desalination plant, which, with a total planned capacity of 150 million m³/year, will be the largest plant of its kind in the world. To be completed in 2013, the plant will be constructed under the build-operate-transfer model.

The project is a significant milestone in both desalination capacity and water cost, at US$ ~0.55/m³, which will result in substantial savings for the Israeli water market.

The plant will use 16-in membranes for the first time in a large-scale facility. The use of this technology will result in increased water output and cost savings, together with a reduction in energy consumption.

Water produced from the plant will be delivered directly to Israel’s national water distribution system and will have a significant impact on the Israeli water sector by providing around 20% of the domestic water consumption, and around 10% of the fresh water consumption in total in Israel.

Avshalom Felber, IDE’s CEO, stated: “We are pleased to announce this successful financing, another milestone achieved in the execution of our groundbreaking Sorek project. The construction phase began several months ago and is progressing according to schedule.”