Khaled Al Qureshi, CEO, Saudi Water Partnership Company
How the water sector is taking the lead on PPP projects in Saudi Arabia
In this Global Platform video, Khaled Al Qureshi, CEO of Saudi Water Partnership Company, discusses the gains made in the water management industry, and how Saudi Arabia aims to be a leader in public-private partnership (PPP) best practices for water projects.
The water sector in Saudi Arabia has become a mature market. In Saudi Arabia, when major desalination started in 2018, the capacity production through private sector participation was only 1.2m cubic metres per day. Today we are almost double that - an opportunity for international lenders, investors, EPCs, and also it contributes to the local content aspect in Saudi Arabia. We have six project tender operations, all IWPs, which is a desalination project. Two of them started 11 years ago and they are IWPPs. The recently commissioned project Rabigh 3 is considered to be one of the biggest reverse osmosis (RO) plantss in the region. The second one is Al Shuqaiq 3, also commissioned in December 2021. The remaining four projects also are RO plants. Under construction we have Jubail 3 (A), Jubail 3 (B) and Yanbu-4. The total production of these three projects is approximately 1.5m cubic metres per day. We have six project tender constructions right now, and in the pipeline we have under tendering Rabigh 4, Ras Mohaisan and a small sewage treatment project which is also in the qualification stage. In the future we have more than 60 projects. The total investment cost of these projects is approximately SR35bn. And with these projects, which I mentioned, we will rise to 7.5m cubic metres per day. In Saudi Arabia, at least in the water sector, we consider ourselves number-one in the PPP market in a number of projects. The value of all of these projects and the competitiveness of these projects is shown and proven by the number of expressions of interest we are receiving on the market. If you talk about PPPs, you talk about 13 years of experience, and within the last five years there is a concentration and further needs. When we gather the data for the last five years, we see that we have one of the fastest procurement processes from expression of interest until financial close, which reaches an average of 30 months. We achieved one of the projects within 20 months. We are trying to further improve the process and become more effective and efficient. We are adopting full transparency, fairness with all and we are very rare as a procurer. We have established a seven-year capacity statement where we give the whole investor and interested parties the seven-year plan so they can plan their invest-procurement process as one of the good examples and blueprints for emerging markets. We are open to transferring knowledge and improving PPPs in the water sector in the GCC region. Environmental and social governance is very important for Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia now is a key player pioneering environmental compliance initiatives. The environmental aspect is really very important criteria. On preparing the comments for the tenders, we care about carbon emissions, greenhouse gases and we adapt using renewable energy to reduce CO2 emissions. We align with the global focus on ESG and also pioneer the Saudi water initiative, which is to reuse some of the claimed water. We put in place criteria that allow international investors and local lenders to use renewable energy to reduce CO2 emissions to the environment by handling 12 kilo ton from only 1m cubic metres per day. Technology is playing a very vital role in desalination. Nowadays we are adapting the most friendly and economic technology, which is reverse osmosis technology; this is used for producing desalinated water from seawater. And in the sewage treatment systems weare now mandating that all the sludge has to be beneficial sludgewhere they produce some energy and use it in the system to reducing the consumptionof energy producing CO2 emissions. We are allowing any technology that is commercially tested and proven so we ensure that the project will succeed for 25 years.