Julio de la Rosa, ME business development for Acciona Agua, gives an overview of the company, its projects, and its plans for 2019
1. Could you give a small brief about Acciona Agua?
Acciona Agua holds a leadership position in the water treatment sector not only as an EPC contractor but also as operator and developer. Acciona Agua´s target is excellency based on our in-house engineering capabilities and our commitment to deliver on time and our investment in the development and innovation of the most efficient and sustainable technologies. Acciona Agua has more than 475 references covering all of the different and latest technologies for water/wastewater treatment plants. Regarding desalination plants, Acciona Agua has more than 75 facilities designed and built worldwide, four of them among the world´s largest, supplying more than 3mn m3/d of potable water. With regards to sewage treatment, we have more than 300 plants, including the largest in the world located in Atotonilco (Mexico) with a capacity of 4mn m3/d capacity being the product water reused mostly by farmers. The above is underpinned by our 100+ drinking water treatment plants providing water to more than 31mn people in daily basis in the five continents. Acciona Agua is a complete water cycle operator and management company, with 40 concessions and public service contracts providing services to 185 cities in Spain and other international locations such as Peru, Italy or Mexico.
We have four SWROs desal plants in the Middle East already finished providing more than 700 MLD (154 MIGD) of potable water daily and performing the O&M of 452 MLD (100 MIGD) of desalinated water. Our total backlog in 2018 in this region has reached 1,400 MLDs which has positioned Acciona Agua as one of the Middle East Water leaders for integrated water services.
2. Who are some of your clients?
Acciona Agua is working with all main public and private players involved in the water supply all around the GCC region. In KSA we are actively working with Marafiq, NWC, WEC and SWCC for example while we are very much interested in others as well such as Aramco, Sabic or Royal Commission. Mubadala, EWEC, DEWA, EGA and FEWA are some of our most important clients in the UAE. Other important clients for us in the GCC have included OPWP, QEWC, MoW and EWA in Bahrain and MEW in Kuwait.
3. What have been some of your notable projects?
Acciona Agua arrived to the Middle East less than 10 years ago and managed to close its first contract in 2012 when it was awarded the Fujairah-1 SWRO expansion by Emirates Sembcorp Water & Power Company. The job entailed the 137 MLD expansion of the existing plant utilizing RO technology plus 7 years of O&M. Thanks to this plant, more than 600,000 inhabitants are able to get potable water in a daily basis.
Our second significant project came early in 2013, but this time in KSA. Marafiq Industrial city awarded to Acciona Agua the construction and commissioning of a 100MLD SWRO plant titled “Jubail-RO4”. Also in 2013, we reinforced our presence in the KSA after signing an O&M contract for 2 WWTP located in Haddah and Aranah with a total capacity of 500 MLD and serving the population living and visiting Mecca. Other prominent SWRO projects soon followed in the GCC.
These solid foundations forged the reputation of our company as a market leader in the GCC desalination and sewage treatment market and will help Acciona Agua in its endeavour to continue succeeding in the upcoming years.
4. What are some of the current market challenges?
The first challenge for the region could be to follow the path already implemented by the KSA and the UAE to replace some of the older desalination facilities with the more modern and efficient technologies with the least energy consumption as the Reverse Osmosis technology. We believe that, in some cases, it is economically worthy and viable to replace those more inefficient units by these more efficient RO units.
The second challenge would be to promote Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) or BOO/BOOT schemes, not only for water generation projects but also for integral water cycle management concessions. To reach this goal, a continuous dialogue among all stakeholders is of paramount importance in order to define a clear and secure technical, legal and financial framework.
5. Looking back at 2018, what were the highs for Acciona Agua?
Last year for Acciona Agua was a great year in the region: we closed four SWRO contracts totalizing 1,442 MLD (317 MIGD) capacity and USD 1.5Bill plus backlog, making Acciona Agua the leader in EPC contracted capacity of RO technology in the Middle East. This means three EPC contract and one PPP scheme (IWP). In February 2018 we were awarded by Dewa the 182 MLD (40MIGD) SWRO in Jebel Ali complex along with our partner Besix. Two months later, we secured the SWCC Al Khobar-1 SWRO 210 MLD (46MIGD). Finally, in December we got awarded the WEC IWP Shuqaiq-3 450 MLD (99MIGD) along with our partners Marubeni Corp, Almar and Al Rawafid.
We would like to highlight that WEC´s IWP Shuqaiq-3 will be the first IWP for Acciona Agua in the Middle East where our company participates at the three levels of the project: that is at the Project Company level (or SPV) as developer, at the EPC level as a single main contractor and also as the technology leader in the 25-year O&M contract after testing & commissioning of the facility thus securing a long-term recurrent revenue for our Company in the region.
6. What are your expectations for 2019?
Acciona Agua will actively keep seeking paths for growth in the high-tech business of the integral water cycle to best support our Middle East customers. Sewage treatment and Water Reuse will be one of the main targets for the company based in our expertise, knowledge of the local market, our permanent investment in Research & Development as well as our in-house engineering capabilities. Integral Water Cycle Management is among our company´s top priorities too. Acciona Agua has a huge experience providing this kind of critical services to big cities around the world like Lima (Peru), Barcelona (Spain) and Mexico. We are keen to contribute to the public and private sectors in the water sector to achieve a more efficient and sustainable potable and reuse water supply in the region.