Saudi Arabia launches 200 PPP projects

6 April 2023

Saudi Arabia has announced a Privatisation & PPP (P&PPP) pipeline that includes 200 projects across 17 sectors.

This new P&PPP pipeline aims to attract local and international investors and ensure their readiness to participate in the schemes tendered to the market.

The initiative comes as the kingdom strives to increase the attractiveness of its economy and raise the private sector's contribution to GDP.

Minister of Finance and chairman of the Board of the National Centre for Privatisation & PPP (NCP), Mohammed al-Jadaan, said the list of projects aligns with the aims of Vision 2030, reinforces the strength of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and will contribute to attracting new international investments.

The pipeline of projects for each sector will be available for investors through the NCP portal.

Information about the first 140 projects has already been published, and more projects are expected soon.

Four PPP airports projects

In line with Saudi Arabia's aviation strategy to increase the country’s annual passenger handling capacity to 330 million by 2030, the kingdom has announced plans to tender four airports under the P&PPP pipeline: Abha International airport, Taif International airport, Hail International airport and Prince Naif International airport in Al-Qassim.

The Ministry of Transport & Logistics Services will procure the schemes.

The launch dates for the PPP tenders were not specified. However, MEED reported in July 2022 that through NCP, Saudi Arabia’s Matarat Holding Company was expected to start the procurement process to develop airport PPP projects in 2023.

In the initial plan, the Abha and Taif airport PPPs were scheduled to be tendered in the first half of 2023, while the Hail and Qassim airport projects were to be potentially tendered in the second half of 2023.

The P&PPP pipeline list includes:

Abha International airport

The existing Abha International airport is operating above capacity with 4.4 million passengers annually against the originally designed capacity of 1.5 million. The targeted capacity for the new airport is 8.5 million passengers a year by 2030 and 13 million passengers by 2053. The contract type is the build-transfer-operate (BTO) model and the project duration is 30 years.

Taif International airport

The capacity of the current Taif International airport is 600,000 passengers. The targeted capacity of the new airport is 4 million passengers by 2030 and 7.4 million passengers by 2053. The project will be developed under the design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) concession; its duration is 30 years.

Hail International airport

This project aims to develop the airport and service facilities following the standards approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The targeted airport capacity increase is 3 million passengers a year. The contract type, duration and launch details are not specified.

Prince Naif International airport in Al-Qassim

The scheme involves developing the airport in Al-Qassim in line with ICAO standards and increasing its capacity to 5.3 million passengers annually. The contract type, duration and launch details are not specified.

The Taif, Hail and Al-Qassim airport schemes were previously tendered and awarded as PPP projects using a BTO model.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) awarded the contracts to develop four airport PPP projects to two consortiums in 2017. A team of Tukey’s TAV Airports and the local Al-Rajhi Holding Group won the 30-year concession agreement to build, transfer and operate airport passenger terminals in Yanbu, Qassim and Hail.

A second team, comprising Lebanon’s Consolidated Contractors Company, Germany’s Munich Airport International and local firm Asyad Group, won the BTO contract to develop Taif International airport.

These projects then stalled following the restructuring of the kingdom’s aviation sector.

Saudi Arabia has already privatised airports including the $1.2bn Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International airport in Medina, which was developed as a PPP and opened in 2015.

Four PPP highways schemes

The kingdom has also announced plans to tender four highway schemes under the P&PPP pipeline. The following schemes will be procured by the Ministry of Transport & Logistic Services:

  • The 136-kilometre Asir-Jizan highway will include six intersections, 18km of bridges and a 9km-long tunnel network. The project starts at Al-Farah in Asir and extends to the Red Sea through Jizan. The contract type is DFBOM, and the project duration is 30 years. The launch date is not specified.

  • The 570km Jeddah-Jizan highway will comprise 43 intersections, 11 wildlife crossings and 29 bridges. The project scope includes converting the current 280km of double lanes into three lanes. The contract model is not specified; the project duration is 30 years.

  • The 447km Yanbu-Jubail highway will contain 17 intersections, 14 wildlife crossings, four bridges, one tunnel and 18 service areas. Construction work on a 39km section towards the Al-Zulfi area has been completed. The contract model, duration and launch date are not specified.

  • The Jeddah-Makkah road spans a length of 64km. It consists of seven interchanges and four camel crossings. The construction is under way for 51km of the road and is being carried out in three phases. The construction works for phase four are yet to begin. The construction cost for phase four of the road will be funded by the government, similar to the ongoing construction works for phases one to three. The proposed scope of work is for the operation and maintenance of the Jeddah-Makkah road, and developing and operating motorway service areas. The contract's duration and the tender's launch date are not specified.
Other planned PPP projects

Saudi Arabia has also announced plans to tender seven PPP desalination projects.

The independent water projects (IWPs) represent an aggregate desalination capacity of 2.8 million cubic metres a day (cm/d). Owned by the Ministry of Environment, Water & Agriculture, the IWPs will be procured under 25-year build-own-operate (BOO) contracts.

The first project, Ras al-Khair 2 with a capacity of 600,000 cm/d, will be launched in February 2024.

This will be followed by the launch of another IWP, the 400,000 cm/d Ras al-Khair 3, in April 2024.

In March 2025, the kingdom plans to launch the Tabuk IWP with a capacity of 400,000 cm/d. The Alshuqaiq 4 IWP is set for launch in July 2025, with a capacity of 400,000 cm/d.

These schemes will be followed by the Rabigh 5 IWP, with a capacity of 400,000 cm/d, to be launched in April 2027, and the Rayis 2 IWP, with a capacity of 300,000 cm/d, set for launch in July 2035.

Finally, the Jizan IWP is set to have a capacity of 300,000 cm/d. Its launch date is not yet disclosed.

In addition, the kingdom plans to tender six wastewater treatment projects starting in 2024. The five independent sewage treatment plants (ISTPs), one small sewage treatment plant (SSTP) and collection network will treat wastewater for reuse in non-agricultural municipal and industrial applications.

The five ISTPs represent an aggregate wastewater treatment capacity of 650,000 cm/d.

The Ministry of Environment, Water & Agriculture will procure the projects under build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) models.

Other projects to be tendered under the P&PPP pipeline include several medical centres, health centres, hospitals, educational buildings, schools, colleges, universities, strategic water reservoirs, marine services schemes, land ports and power stations.
Eva Levesque
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