Sembcorp Industries marks groundbreaking of water plant expansion in UAE

Sembcorp Industries celebrated on June 30 the groundbreaking of its US$200 million (S$253 million) expansion project for its Fujairah 1 independent water and power plant in the UAE, which will increase the plant's seawater desalination capacity by 30 million imperial gallons per day.

This additional output will be produced using reverse osmosis technology.

The expansion, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015, will enhance Sembcorp's total seawater desalination capacity in the UAE from 100 million gallons a day to 130, of which 67.5 million will be produced using reverse osmosis process.

The remainder is produced using multi-stage flash technology.

This combined reverse osmosis desalination capacity will make the Fujairah 1 plant the largest reverse osmosis desalination facility in the Middle East.

The 30 million gallons water output from the expansion will be sold to the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Company under a 20-year water purchase agreement, signed in January.

This is in addition to the existing 22-year power and water purchase agreement with the Abu Dhabi company for the plant's current water and electricity output.

The Fujairah 1 plant, one of the world's largest operating hybrid desalination plants, is owned and operated by Emirates Sembcorp Water & Power Company (ESC), which is a joint venture between Sembcorp Gulf Holding Co and Union Power Holding Company, subsidiaries of Sembcorp Utilities and the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) respectively.

TAQA is majority-owned by the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, while Sembcorp Utilities is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sembcorp. Sembcorp holds an effective 40 per cent stake in ESC.

"Our plant, strategically located in Fujairah, will enable us to produce desalinated water more economically for our customer," said Sembcorp Group President and chief executive Tang Kin Fei.

"The expansion project also enables the use of uncontracted surplus power from the existing plant, hence allowing excess generation capacity to be gainfully utilised to produce the additional water at a competitive cost and enhance our income at the same time."