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New tender for $9bn Ras Azzour water project on the cards.

Byline: P.K. Abdul Ghafour

JEDDAH: Saudi authorities are expected to call for new tenders from specialized companies to establish the proposed $9 billion Independent Water and Power Production (IWPP) project in Ras Azzour, Saudi and foreign investors have said.

Saudi Arabia required new investments worth more than $50 billion for desalination projects during the next 10 years, Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic daily said quoting informed market sources.

Tarik Al-Tamimi, chairman of Tamimi Group, described investments in the Kingdom's water sector as the most feasible as the Kingdom depends mainly on desalinated water for the consumption of its growing population and meet industrial requirements.

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest producer of desalinated water. It consumes nearly 2.5 billion cubic meters of water annually and about half of which (1.1 billion cubic meters) comes from its desalination plants on the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf.

The government has decided to go ahead with Ras Azzour IWPP project. The new plant, which may receive the financial support of the state-run Public Investment Fund, is likely to use natural gas instead of oil for its energy requirements.

"The scale of the Kingdom's IWPP projects has drawn massive financial and investor interest from around the globe. Shuaiba III, the biggest IWPP in the world, for example, has involved some 37 banks in project finance, among them almost all the Saudi banks and major international players, such as HSBC, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui, etc.

The Ras Azzour project is designed to supply power and water required by Maaden's aluminum smelter and phosphate-processing facilities in the area.

Copyright: Arab News 2009 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jun 26, 2009
Words:278
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