Marubeni has won a contract to construct, own, operate, and maintain a desalinisation plant in the Saudi Arabian town of Shuqaiq.
The Japanese conglomerate, alongside Spanish contractor Acciona; Abdul Latif Jameel Commercial Development Company (ALJ); and Rawafid Alhadarah, signed the long-term water purchase agreement with Saudi state-owned Water and Electricity Company (WEC) on 29 January.
Shuqaiq 3 Independent Water Project will generate 450,000m3/day of water, serving a population of approximately two million, Maurebeni said, making it largest reverse osmosis-based desalinisation plant with a Japanese investor.
A special purpose company, owned by Marubeni, Acciona, ALJ, and Rawafid, will proceed with development of the project, including procuring financing, constructing the plant, and selling the water to WEC.
Water will be sold over the course of a 25-year period beginning in 2021, which is the target completion date for the plant.
Marubeni is no stranger to the Middle East, with the firm already involved with four independent water and power projects supplying 2,000,000m3/day of water in the UAE. It also runs water utility companies in Chile, the Philippines, and Portugal.
Its latest contract win comes as demand for water in Saudi picks up, in line with the kingdom’s economic and population growth. Reverse osmosis-based desalination plants, which are independent and do not require a fire-based power plant to operate, are also gaining traction in the kingdom, reflecting a wider trend towards renewable energy.
October 2018 saw a Marubeni-led consortium, alongside Oman Gas Company, Bahwan Renewable Energy Company, and Modern Channels Services, win a contract for a 100MW photovoltaic solar power plant in the South of Oman.