Joint venture to build US$ 196 million desalination plant at Ras Al Khaimah

A joint venture between Spain’s Grupo Cobra and Emirates-based Utico Middle East is building a Dh 719 million (US$ 195.7 million) desalination plant in northernmost emirate, Ras Al Khaimah.

The facility will generate desalinated water at 110 Ml/d for the emirate and neighbouring areas, according to a statement from the venture partners.

Subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based Ghantoot Group, Utico Middle East, and Grupo Cobra have signed an agreement in Dubai to incorporate Al Hamra Water Company, under a 60:40 partnership to oversee the development of the desalination plant.

Managing director of Utico Middle East, Richard Menezes, was reported as saying that most of water will be supplied directly to the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) which supplies electricity and water to Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and some east coast cities.

Construction on the facility will start in September with the plant scheduled to supply water to Fewa by June 2017 and to be fully operational in 2018, acceding to Menezes. The venture has issued a tender to supply solar panels to the plant with 16 companies having pre-qualified, Menezes said.

The plant will be the first desalination in the region to be independently financed, which will be 80% debt financed, Menezes sai He went on the say the plant would be expected to bring a return on investment of 15-16% but he was reported to have declined to indicate over what the period.