By Gavin Davids
Water and power projects will fuel growth of the Saudi economy and population.
The Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) board of directors announced the approval of four water projects worth $10.66 billion (SR 40bn) on Saturday.
The Raz Azour Independent Water and Power Production project is one of the four approved, and is designed to supply power and water to Maaden’s aluminium smelter and phosphate processing facilities.
The project is likely to use natural gas rather than oil for its energy requirements.
In a statement, the board said it had approved the implementation of the third phase of the Yanbu desalination plant (Yanbu III).
It also approved the construction of three pipelines, linking Ras Azour to Ridyah, while the second linked Hafr Al Batin and Naeeriya, and the third will be used for the Yanbu plant.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Tarik Al Tamimi, chairman of the Tamimi Group, said that investing in the kingdom’s water sector was the most feasible plan as the Kingdom depended mainly in desalinated water for consumption.
Tamimi added that Saudi Arabia consumed nearly 2.5 billion cubic metres of water annually, half of which comes from its desalination plants on the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf.
With a combined worth of well over $12 billion, Saudi Arabia plans to establish ten major power and water projects to supply its growing population and fuel its growing economy. The last of the projects are expected to be completed by 2013.
The largest and most valuable of these projects, Yanbu, will be completed by early 2013 and will produce 1700MW and 150,000m3 of desalinated water per day.