Foreign firms offer to build desalination plants in Saudi Arabia
More than 20 Saudi, Japanese and US firms have submitted bids to build 15 desalination plants in projects worth a total of $14 billion, Saudi Arabia's agriculture minister said Thursday, April 27. Abdullah bin Muamar said the current water consumption of 1.3 billion gallons (five billion liters) a year in the kingdom was expected to double in the next 10 years, newspapers reported.
The offers, five of which have already been studied, will be sent to the Saudi Supreme Economic Council in the coming three months for assessment, he said. The council is currently studying whether to award the desalination projects on the basis of build-operate-transfer (BOT) or build-operate-own (BOO), the minister said.
About half of Saudi water supplies comes from desalination plants on the Gulf and Red Sea coasts, making the oil-rich desert kingdom the world's top producer of desalinated water. Muamar said the plan will begin with three desalination plants, each with a capacity of 100 million gallons (380 million liters), to supply Mecca and Riyadh with drinking water. Construction would take three years from the signing of contracts. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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