Sadara Petrochemicals Complex Desalination Plant, Jubail Industrial City II, Saudi Arabia

Sadara Petrochemicals Complex location

Saudi Arabia's largest ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plant is being constructed by Sidem, a subsidiary of Veolia Water, at the Sadara Petrochemicals Complex located in Jubail Industrial City II, Al Sharqiya.

The construction of the desalination plant with an average treatment capacity of 148,800m³ per day and a peak treatment capacity of 178,000m³ per day is scheduled to be completed by June 2015.

"The Sadara chemical complex will comprise 26 world-scale manufacturing units."

Sadara Chemical Company (Sadara) awarded a contract to Power and Water Utility Company for Jubail and Yanbu (Marafiq), in November 2012, to build the desalination plant. Marafiq subcontracted Veolia Water to design, build and operate the desalination plant, in July 2013.

Veolia Water will be paid approximately $310m to design and construct the desalination plant and an additional $92m for its operations and maintenance for ten years. The company has an option to extend the contract by another 20 years.

Purpose of the Sadara desalination plant

Sadara, which is a joint-venture (JV) between Dow Chemical and Saudi Aramco, is constructing the $20bn Sadara Petrochemicals Complex, the largest petrochemical facility in Saudi Arabia, which is scheduled to come online in 2015.

The Sadara chemical complex will comprise 26 world-scale manufacturing units. The water supplied from the desalination plant will be used in the two cooling towers of the complex and as boiler feed water.

Sadara desalination plant construction

The Saudi Arabian desalination plant is being built in three phases. Phase 1 will be built in 18 months and will have a production capacity of 2,000m³ per hour. Phases 2 and 3, with a production capacity of 4,000m³ per hour each, will be built in a time span of 22 months each.

Raw water from the Persian Gulf will be supplied to the treatment plant by means of a 14km pipeline and the treated water will be stored in a reservoir to be built as part of the project.

Water treatment at Sadara desalination plant

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Water reaching the plant will undergo a pre-treatment process using Veolia's patented Spidflow dissolved air flotation (DAF) to remove the algae content in the water, which will be followed by ultrafiltration (UF) to capture the suspended particles in the water.

Treated water will be desalinated using second pass RO membranes in the second stage. The water will be remineralised by adding lime and CO2 in the third stage.

The combination of these treatment processes will provide a secure water supply, limit the risk of plant failure and extend its lifespan. It will also reduce the site's energy requirements and costs.

The RO facility will use variable speed drive and energy recovery device systems to reduce energy consumption.