Sustainability drives water investments

29 December 2023

 

Growing water scarcity that could imperil long-term economic expansion plans in much of the Middle East and North Africa region continues to drive investments in improving the sector’s capacity and efficiency.

This spending covers projects to increase water desalination and water treatment capacity to meet growing demand more sustainably, as well as water transmission pipeline projects to reduce water loss and improve sanitation.

Other projects, such as reservoirs and district cooling, are also picking up as national and municipal governments work to improve water security and reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. 

Across the five sub-sectors, an estimated $22bn-worth of contracts were awarded between January and November 2023. This is nearly twice the previous year’s figure, according to data from regional projects tracker MEED Projects.

Saudi Arabia accounted for 43 per cent of the total contracts awarded, followed by the UAE at 23 per cent.

Key awards

Recent months have seen the award of several pioneering projects.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) awarded a 30-year build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) contract for the first phase of Project Wave to a team of Egypt’s Orascom Construction and Metito in May this year. The scheme will replace the current aquifer water injection systems used to maintain reservoir pressure in all onshore oil fields in Abu Dhabi. It is expected to reduce the water injection-related energy consumption of the oil fields by up to 30 per cent.

The same month, a consortium including the local Alkhorayef Water & Power Technologies Company won a contract worth SR7.78bn ($2bn) to develop and operate the first independent water transmission pipeline (IWTP) project in Saudi Arabia. The Rayis-Rabigh scheme will be 150 kilometres (km) long and transmit 500,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) of drinking water between the two municipalities.

Morocco’s National Office of Electricity & Drinking Water (Onee) also awarded a contract to develop and operate the first phase of a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant in Grand Casablanca – the first major independent water producer (IWP) scheme in the country. A team of Spain’s Acciona and the local Afriquia Gaz and Green of Africa won the 30-year build-operate-transfer contract for the scheme, which will require a total investment of $875m.

State utility Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) awarded the contract for its first IWP to Saudi-based utility developer Acwa Power. The Hassyan 1 IWP, which has a capacity of 180 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD), will require an investment of AED3.36bn ($914m).

Neom and its subsidiary Enowa have also awarded over $900m-worth of water utility contracts in the first 11 months of 2023, while Saudi Aramco awarded the $750m Jafurah water desalination project to a local consortium of Al-Bawani, Mowah Company and Lamar Holding.  

While the majority of the contracts awarded in 2023 were procured on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis, the largest individual contracts are schemes that are being implemented using the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Saudi Arabia accounted for 43 per cent of the total water contracts awarded, followed by the UAE at 23 per cent

Future projects

Data from MEED Projects shows that close to $75bn of projects are in the pre-execution phase, with a third of this total already in the bidding stage.

Water transmission and pipeline projects account for about 35 per cent of the planned and unawarded projects, followed by water desalination and water treatment plants, which each have a share of approximately 25 per cent.

With its population expected to reach 50 million by 2030, Saudi Arabia accounted for more than 43 per cent of the planned and unawarded water projects in the Mena region.

Water offtaker Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) plans to procure 50 independent water infrastructure projects, according to its latest Seven-Year Statement covering the years 2022-28.

In terms of water desalination capacity, SWPC plans to procure  3.5 million cm/d of capacity based on its 2022-28 plan, exclusive of the Ras Mohaisen IWP which is under bid. The Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has also initiated several SWRO projects that are being procured using an EPC model.

Together, SWCC and SWPC, in addition to the National Water Company and its spin-off Water Transmission & Technologies Company, account for a projects pipeline of more than $20bn, or more than a quarter of the total.

Neom and Enowa are emerging as major water project clients, with each having planned projects valued at about $3bn. Enowa is the client for the planned zero liquid discharge SWRO plant in Neom, which will be developed by a team of Japan’s Itochu and France’s Veolia. The project has an estimated budget of $1.5bn.

Going forward, the largest potential client is Dubai Municipality, which has restarted a major project known as the Deep Tunnels Portfolio. The estimated $22bn scheme will be developed as a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative and will involve developing assets across the city of Dubai and Hatta.

The scheme involves the construction of two sets of deep tunnels terminating at two terminal pump stations located at sewerage treatment plants (STPs) in Warsan and Jebel Ali. A conventional sewage and drainage collection system and STPs will be built in Hatta. The scheme also includes recycled water distribution systems connected to the STPs.

Qatar is also expected to resume projects activity in 2024.  In addition to the water desalination component of the Facility E independent water and power project, Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is expected to issue the request for proposals for four contracts that make up the South of Wakrah and New District of Doha pumping station and outfall scheme in the first quarter of 2024.

In the UAE, Adnoc and Taqa are also expected to start the procurement process for the second phase of Project Wave in 2024. As with the Mirfa seawater treatment plant, the Al-Nouf facility will be developed and maintained as a BOOT project. 

Egypt’s plan to procure renewable energy-powered water desalination plants will provide investors and local contractors with opportunities in the coming months or years. In May, the Sovereign Fund of Egypt disclosed that 17 teams and companies had been qualified to bid for the contracts to develop up to 8.85 million cm/d of renewable energy-powered desalination capacity in the country. The tender for the first phase of these projects is expected to be issued soon.

Mena power rides high into 2024

https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/11339767/main.gif
Jennifer Aguinaldo
Related Articles
  • Facility E nears 25 July bid deadline

    19 July 2024

     

    The tender closing date of 25 July remains unchanged for the contract to develop and operate Qatar’s Facility E independent water and power producer (IWPP) project.

    At least one developer team is highly likely to submit a proposal to develop the gas-fired plant, sources close to the project tell MEED.

    Qatar state utility General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) had previously extended the tender closing date for the contract in response to developers’ requests, as MEED reported.

    The Facility E IWPP scheme will have a power generation capacity of 2,300MW and a water desalination capacity of 100 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD).

    “We hear that at least one consortium is being formed … others are preparing proposals, but appear unsure if they will ultimately submit them or not,” a source close to the project told MEED in November last year. 

    Kahramaa initially expected to receive bids on 14 December 2023.

    The contract to develop the Facility E IWPP was first tendered in 2019. The three teams that submitted bids for the contract in August 2020 were:   

    • Engie (France) / Mitsui (Japan) / Yonden (Shikoku Electric, Japan)
    • Sumitomo / Kansai Electric (Japan)
    • Marubeni / Kyushu Electric (Japan)

    The original plan was for the Facility E IWPP to have a power generation capacity of about 2,300MW and a desalination component of 100MIGD once fully operational.

    However, the project owner revised the power plant’s design capacity to 2,600MW and sought alternative prices from bidders. 

    Kahramaa eventually cancelled and reissued the tender in September 2023. The current tender entails a power generation plant with the same capacity as initially tendered in 2019.

    MEED understands that the new target commercial operation date for the Facility E IWPP project has been moved to 2027. 

    The state utility’s transaction advisory team includes UK-headquartered PwC and Clyde & Co as financial and legal advisers, respectively, led by Belgrade-headquartered Energoprojekt as technical adviser.

    Facility E is Qatar’s fifth IWPP scheme. Completed and operational IWPPs include three projects in Ras Laffan – known as Facilities A, B and C – and Facility D in Umm Al-Houl.

    Awarded in 2015 and completed in 2018, Facility D was developed by a Japanese consortium of Mitsubishi Corporation and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). South Korea's Samsung C&T was the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.  

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/12177605/main.jpg
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Masdar’s second bond issue raises $1bn

    19 July 2024

    Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) has raised $1bn through its second bond issuance under its Green Finance Framework.

    The announcement comes one year after the company’s first successful issuance of $750m on the International Securities Market of the London Stock Exchange.

    Masdar said the issuance comprises dual tranches of $500m each, with tenors of five and 10 years and coupons of 4.875% and 5.25%, respectively.

    It said there was strong appetite from regional and international investors, with the order book peaking at $4.6bn – 4.6 times oversubscribed.

    The company finalised the allocation with an average split of 70% to international investors and 30% to Middle East and North Africa investors.

    The $1bn proceeds from the issuance will be deployed to fund Masdar’s equity commitments on new greenfield projects, including several in developing economies, as the company pursues a target portfolio capacity of 100GW by 2030.

    In line with Masdar’s corporate credit ratings, the second issuance was rated AA- by Fitch and A2 by Moody’s.

    First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Citibank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Credit Agricole CIB, Natixis and MUFG were the lead managers and bookrunners on the issuance.

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/12177600/main.jpg
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Firms seek to prequalify for 12 Saudi water projects

    18 July 2024

     

    Local and international utility developers have submitted their statements of qualifications (SOQs) for the contracts to develop and operate 12 water public-private partnership (PPP) projects in Saudi Arabia. 

    State-backed offtaker Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) received separate responses from companies for five independent water projects (IWPs) and seven independent sewage treatment plant (ISTP) projects by 4 July, industry sources tell MEED.

    Local and regional companies, in addition to Japanese, Spanish, French and Chinese utility developers, are understood to have sought to prequalify to bid for the contracts, which are set to be tendered in 2024-26. 

    SWPC's shift from a single-project to a multiple-project prequalification process saves time and resources, according to one of the companies that submitted an SOQ.

    "This is particularly true for international developers, which need to allocate resources across various geographies," the source said.

    Another source said he believes SWPC will prequalify companies for lead and technical roles, among others, and then allow these companies to form teams at a later stage.  

    The client previously said that the programme "will provide the opportunity to local and international developers to obtain pre-qualification approval and receive the request for proposal documents for its future projects … without the need to submit a separate qualification application for each project".

    The five IWP schemes have a total combined capacity of 1.7 million cubic metres a day (cm/d). The seven ISTP projects have a total combined capacity of 700,000 cm/d.

    The kingdom's water sector has been undergoing a restructuring programme, with the capacity procurement process linked to the National Water Strategy being undertaken by three other clients: Saline Water Conversion Company, which has been renamed Saudi Water Authority; Water Transmission & Technologies Company; and the National Water Company.

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/12167522/main.gif
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • Nama appoints 2027-29 procurement advisers

    18 July 2024

     

    Oman's Nama Power & Water Procurement (Nama PWP) has appointed a transaction advisory team to support its 2027-29 power and water procurement strategy.

    According to an industry source, the team comprises UK-headquartered Deloitte as lead transaction and financial adviser, Canada-based engineering consultancy WSP as technical adviser, and US firm CMS as legal adviser.

    The scope of work won by the advisory team includes preparing the overall procurement strategy, extending existing contracts expiring between 2027 and 2029, and undertaking procurement for new-build plants.

    The contracts for three independent power projects (IPPs) in Oman with a total combined capacity of 3,518MW are expiring between 2028 and 2029, according to the state offtaker's latest Seven-Year Planning Statement, which covers the years 2023 to 2029.

    These gas-fired plants and their power generation capacities are:

    • Barka 3 IPP: 750MW (2028)
    • Sohar 3 IPP: 750MW (2028)
    • Sur IPP: 2,018MW (2029)

    Phoenix Power Company, the project company for the 2,018MW Sur IPP, comprises Japan's Marubeni Corporation and Jera and Qatar's Nebras Power. 

    Shinas Generating Company – owned by Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power, Japan's Mitsui and China's Didic – is the project company for Sohar 3.

    Al-Suwaidi Power is the project company for Barka 3. It comprises France's Engie, Japan's Shikoku Electric and the local Suhail Bahwan Group.

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/12166689/main1708.jpg
    Jennifer Aguinaldo
  • UAE keen to start next nuclear plant phase

    18 July 2024

    The UAE government could start the tendering process this year for the state's next nuclear power plant, located in Abu Dhabi, according to a Reuters report citing a senior UAE government official.

    According to the report, Hamad Alkaabi, the UAE's permanent representative to the Austria-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said: "The government is looking at this option. No final decision has been made in terms of the tender process but I can tell you that the government is actively exploring this option."

    The government has yet to budget for a second power plant or decide on the size or location of such a project, but Alkaabi said it is possible a tender could be issued this year, the report added.

    A significant increase in electricity use over the next decade, driven by population growth and an expanding industrial sector, underpins the plan to proceed with the next phase of the state's civilian nuclear power programme.

    Any new power plant would likely consist of two or four reactors, said Alkaabi, who also serves as the deputy chairman of the board of management of the UAE's Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation.

    The next phase of the Barakah power plant, comprising reactors five to eight, has been in the planning stage since 2019, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects.

    The UAE became the first Arab state to operate a nuclear power plant when the first of the four reactors at Abu Dhabi’s Barakah nuclear power plant became operational in 2021.

    Each of the four reactors at the Barakah nuclear power plant can produce 1,400MW of electricity.

    Three of the plant’s four reactors are operational. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation's operating and maintenance subsidiary, Nawah Energy Company, completed the loading of fuel assemblies into Unit 4 in December 2023. 

    Unit 4 will raise the Barakah plant’s total clean electricity generation capacity to 5,600MW, equivalent to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs.

    Korea Power Corporation is the prime contractor for the $24.4bn first phase of the Barakah nuclear power plant.

    GlobalData expects nuclear power capacity in the Middle East and North Africa region to grow from zero in 2020 to an estimated 7.1GW by 2030, mainly thanks to Abu Dhabi’s Barakah nuclear energy plant and the first reactors of Egypt’s El-Dabaa nuclear power plant.

    The UAE is one of more than 20 countries that committed to tripling global nuclear energy capacity by 2050 at the UN climate change summit Cop28, which was held in Dubai in late 2023.

    https://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/NewsArticle/12165779/main1220.jpg
    Jennifer Aguinaldo