Saudi Utility To Spend $80bn By 2025 To Raise Water Production

SWCC, also Saudi Arabia’s second largest power producer, now produces 3.6 million cubic meters per day of desalinated water.



State-run Saudi Saline Water Conversion Corp (SWCC) plans to invest SAR300 billion ($80 billion) by 2025 to boost energy-intensive desalinated water production to 8.5 million cubic meters a day, the head of the utility said on Wednesday.

SWCC, also Saudi Arabia’s second largest power producer, now produces 3.6 million cubic meters per day of desalinated water, Abdulrahman Mohammed al-Ibrahim told reporters.

Demand for power and water in the desert kingdom has grown significantly in recent years as it consumes more to support affluent lifestyles and escape the searing summer heat.

“In less than two years we will go up to 5.2 million cubic meters per day…by the end of 2015-2025 we will need to reach to 8.5 million cubic meters per day.”

“The amount of investment that we need is around 300 billion Saudi riyals in the coming 10 years…up to 2025,” al-Ibrahim said.

The world’s top oil exporter needs to spend SAR800 billion over the next ten years to meet soaring domestic demand for water and electricity, the deputy electricity minister said in May.

Al-Ibrahim added that SWCC is trying to double energy efficiency from the current level of about 26-27 per cent to 54-55 per cent and is looking at renewables as part of its energy portfolio.

He later said SWCC is using 300,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent (boepd).

“Currently we consume around 48 to 49 per cent of natural gas, the remaining is mainly heavy fuel oil and a very small portion of diesel to generate to satellite plants.”

The utility has yet to launch a pilot plant in Khafji which will 30,000 cubic metres per day of desalinated water from solar energy. Al-Ibrahim said 240,000 cubic meters per day of desalinated water from Ras Al Khair have been added this year.

The power plant in Ras Al Khair will eventually have capacity of 2,400 MW and the project will be able to desalinate 1 million cubic metres of water a day. Ma’aden has rights over 1,350 MW of the capacity; the other 1,050 MW has been allocated to Saudi Electricity Co.