RIYADH: Saudi Saline Water Conversion Corp. which is responsible for the desalination and delivery of seawater said it is committed to localizing the reverse osmosis membranes industry for desalinated water in the Kingdom.
“We aim to localize this basic and strategic product so that it delivers industrial value and contributes to growing and diversifying the economy,” said Abdullah Abdul Karim, the governor of SWCC.
The move assumes significance as the RO membrane industry is one of the most critical enablers of desalination globally, whose demand is increasing at an annual rate of 6 percent locally and 7 percent in the Gulf, pointed out Karim.
SWCC’s collaborative endeavors have started bearing fruits, with its partners demonstrating their expertise and ability in localizing engineering and technical works. It includes constructing desalination plants and giant transportation systems led by Rawafed Industrial and Bohoor Co., a 100 percent Saudi company.
SWCC also announced the establishment of a staged integrated factory, a first in the Middle East, to manufacture RO membranes, the second in the world made by Saudi and foreign investors outside Japan.
The project is being developed in partnership with the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority and other private players.
For instance, Saudi-based Toray Membrane Middle East will build a factory with diversified production lines and high-quality products that reduce energy consumption, have long operational ranges and meet the highest environmental standards.
By 2025, revenues from this factory are expected to reach SR690 million ($184 million) in the Kingdom and the Gulf, meeting the growing demand for this promising industry locally and globally, pointed out the SWCC governor.
Moreover, the utility network will participate in developing a product with an average cost reduction of over 14 percent and an energy reduction of 4 percent.
The governor further said that once operational in 2025, the plant is expected to achieve a return on the gross domestic product of SR1.14 billion in the next five years, with an SR135 million impact on the trade balance yearly.
Besides the water sector, the plant will also serve other industries, including the oil and gas sector.
It will have a production capacity of 254,000 membranes, of which SWCC will utilize 10 percent, the local water sector 55 percent and the oil and gas sector 5 percent.
Moreover, 70 percent of the production will be used for domestic markets, while the rest will be exported to meet international demand.
The governor said this initiative would usher the stakeholders, industry visionaries and business leaders from other sectors into the future of the desalination industry. It will be based on inclusive and economic perspectives focusing on producing a new generation of leaders who could drive the Saudi economy.
“We want to focus on Saudi contractors participating in huge projects, exporting their expertise and utilizing the giant production systems of capacities up to 600,000 cubic meters a day using RO techniques,” the governor added.
Established in 1974, SWCC is geared to cooperate with Saudi companies involved in desalination plant construction and water transmission.