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GS Inima awarded BOO Contract for Shuweihat 4 Reverse Osmosis Seawater Desalination Plant

  • GS Inima awarded BOO Contract for Shuweihat 4 Reverse Osmosis Seawater Desalination Plant
    Stock image/DEWA
  • GS Inima together with its partner, TAQA, has signed the Water Purchase Agreement with EWEC for the 70 million imperial gallons per day seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant, Shuweihat 4 RO IWP.
  • GS Inima, TAQA and EWEC also announced financial closing for Shuweihat 4 RO Seawater Desalination Project for a total value of USD 444 million.
  • This is the first project that GS Inima has won in the UAE and significantly, the largest desalination project awarded to the company.

About the entity

GS Inima Environment
GS Inima acts in all the phases of the projects in which it participates: Design, Technology, Construction, Operation and Maintenance and develops its activity in both the public and private markets.

EWEC (Emirates Water and Electricity Company), a leading company in the integrated coordination of planning, purchasing, and supply of water and electricity across the UAE, has awarded GS Inima, in consortium with the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA), one of the largest listed integrated utility companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Build – Own – Operate (BOO) contract for the Shuweihat 4 Reverse Osmosis (S4 RO) Independent Water Project (IWP) in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The S4 RO project will be located within the Shuweihat Power and Water Complex, and will involve the development, financing, construction, operation, maintenance, and ownership of the standalone greenfield RO seawater desalination plant. The plant will desalinate seawater using low-carbon intensive RO technology and supply up to 70 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD) of potable water, equivalent to 318,225 cubic meters per day, enhancing the security of water supply in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region.

GS Inima, alongside TAQA and EWEC have announced the successful Financial Closing of AED 1.60 billion (USD 444 million). The project is primarily funded (71%) through debt financing. The transaction involved both local and international banks, including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH (KFW) and The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM). The S4 RO financial closing comes after TAQA and GS Inima signed the water purchase agreement with EWEC in August 2023.

The Scheduled Project Commercial Operation Date is expected in Q2 2026. The S4 RO project will be 60 per cent owned by TAQA, while the remaining 40 percent will be owned by GS Inima. Both companies will also take on the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the plant, with GS Inima taking a 60 per cent stake in the O&M company and TAQA holding the remaining 40 per cent stake. EWEC will procure water supplied by the plant for 30 years.

Marta Verde, Chief Executive Officer of GS Inima, highlighted “The financial closing of the Shuweihat 4 RO Plant with prominent institutions was possible thanks to our cooperation, and join efforts of our client, partner, the financing entities and GS Inima. It demonstrates our agility, resilience, and unwavering commitment to creating a sustainable future and achieve UAE’s net-zero targets and positioning Abu Dhabi as a low-carbon desalination hub.”

With this new contract, GS Inima reinforces its position as a key player in developing sustainable solutions for water in the Middle East region

Farid Al Awlaqi, Executive Director of Generation at TAQA Group, said: “TAQA has established itself as the UAE’s leading utility company for owning and operating large-scale reverse osmosis water desalination plants. S4 RO will further enhance our existing portfolio and our strong pipeline of RO projects that are bringing us closer to meeting our 2030 target for deploying efficient RO technology in our water generation portfolio. TAQA’s water generation capacity exceeds 1,250 MIGD, making us a major player in water desalination.

Additionally, RO plants play a key role in supporting our 2030 ESG targets, with the decoupling of power and water production allowing us to decarbonize our water production and reduce our carbon footprint, advancing the UAE’s net-zero targets and positioning Abu Dhabi as a low-carbon desalination hub.

Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC, said: “We are delighted that we have reached financial close with our partners on S4 RO, the second strategically important, world-class reverse osmosis project to reach this major milestone in 2023. S4 RO will grow EWEC’s RO production capacity and strengthen security of supply, becoming our sixth RO project.

No other entity in the region is accelerating the energy transition to renewable and clean sources at the scale or speed of EWEC. We are strategically decoupling water and power generation and forecast that nearly 90 per cent of our water production will be from RO technology by 2030, resulting in a 492 per cent increase in our RO capacity compared to 2020, and significantly reducing carbon emissions.

Coupled with our plans for a 600 per cent increase in solar power generation capacity by 2030, we are actively driving the achievement of Abu Dhabi’s Clean Energy Targets 2035, and the UAE’s NetZero by 2050 strategic initiative.”

The plant has been designed to produce the requested capacity of potable water with the highest standard of quality and enough flexibility to adapt easily to the conditions of the raw seawater. The proposed design is based on best industry practices and state of the art technologies. It has been designed for high annual average availability over the term of the Operational period.

“This new joint project with EWEC and TAQA confirms GS Inima’s position as a global player in large-scale RO desalination developments, and marks the company's entry into the UAE. Working with EWEC and TAQA for the first time is a great achievement, and at the same time a big challenge to reach common targets through innovative and reliable solutions to support the UAE’s sustainable water desalination initiatives” commented Marta Verde.

GS Inima and TAQA will develop the Shuweihat 4 RO IWP project with a clear mandate to reduce the carbon footprint in the country, implementing sustainable construction methods and considering the safety as a top priority.

A main player in long term contracts

GS Inima is a world benchmark in the water sector with a current RO desalination treatment capacity of more than 1.800.000 m3/day. With this new contract, GS Inima reinforces its position as a key player in developing sustainable solutions for water in the Middle East region.

This new contract is a thirty-year concession; therefore, it will join the list of concessions references that GS Inima operates worldwide. Currently the Group manages more than 25 projects under long-term water concession contracts include among others; Mostaganem and Cap D’Jinet IWP in Algeria, Ensenada IWP in Mexico, Taunton River IWP in USA, Barka V and Ghubrah IWP in Oman and Riberão Prieto and Aquapolo in Brazil.

Diego de Vera, Global Business Development Director of GS Inima said: “The award of this contract represents the long-term trust that EWEC placed in us. This concession will allow us to undertake facility improvement projects as well as to implement efficiency measures and systems that we currently develop in other projects managed, demonstrating the financial strength of GS Inima.”

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