Top 20 Middle East Power Projects

The region's most ambitious and impressive power projects in profile


Worth a collective $600 billion, the Middle East’s Top 20 Power Projects are aiming to secure the region’s electricity, gas and water resources for future generations through desalination, nuclear, renewable and fossil-fuelled facilities. In this report UME looks at the the projects, their current status, cost and estimated completion date to provide an overview of the region's energy future.

Project: Desertec
Country: Algeria
Main Contractor: TBC
Completion: 2050
Cost: $400-500 billion

The opportunity to export renewable energy from North Africa to Europe in a long-term, cross-nation initiative has received further impetus, despite ongoing unrest in the Middle East.

In a recent development, the Algerian energy minister has announced that the country will begin negotiations with German companies to assess its ability to execute the ambitious project.

In July 2009, 12 German companies signed a cooperation protocol to develop the Desertec project, which aims to utilise exported renewable energy from North Africa to provide Europe with 15 per cent of its power by 2050.

So far, the industrial initiative’s infrastructure would rely on energy from huge solar and wind plants in North Africa being exported to Europe via an underwater, high-voltage direct current grid, potentially linking the city of Adrar in the Algerian desert to Aachen in Germany, 1,200km away.

The German government has already promised to support Desertec, with Tunisia also expressing an interest in playing a decisive role in the project after it received positive backing from founder members Siemens, Eon and RWE.

Braka Nuclear Facility
Project: Braka Nuclear Facility
Country: UAE
Main Contractor: KEPCO
Completion: 2020
Cost: $20 billion

In April 2010, the site for the UAE’s first nuclear power plant was announced as Braka, a sparsely populated area nearly 300km south of Abu Dhabi.

The deal to build and operate the facility’s four 1,400 megawatt reactors was won by a KEPCO-led consortium, including Hyundai Engineering and Construction, Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction and Westinghouse Electric.

In December last year, 12 months after the award, the UAE filed twin 9,000-page applications for two reactors – Braka Units 1 and 2 – with the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), documenting the safety case for both plants.

Under the order from the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, KEPCO is to provide the full scope of works and services, including engineering, procurement, construction, nuclear fuel and operations and maintenance support.

The contract also mentions that KEPCO is to be assisted by its subsidiaries and consortium members, having already awarded a $3.9 billion contract to Doosan Heavy Industries to supply main equipment for the reactors.

The reactors themselves will be APR1400 type units; evolutionary Generation III pressurised water reactors designed chiefly by KEPCO.

A groundbreaking ceremony in March this year took place at the site, shortly before the UAE nuclear regulator announced that the licence application for the project would be the subject of a year-long review following Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Authorities had hoped that the UAE’s first plant would be operational by 2017, with all four reactors up and running by 2020, but this latest review could well push those dates back.

Hassyan Power and Desalination Plant
Project: Hassyan Power and Desalination Plant
Completion: 2014/2015
Cost: $18 billion, ($2-3bn per phase)

This ambitious power and desalination plant in Dubai will see a single facility producing 9,000 megawatts of power and 720 million gallons of desalinated water a day, making it one of the largest in the world.

Located 60km south west of the city, the Hassyan project is Dubai’s first foray into public private partnerships in the utilities sector, and will be built in six stages with Phase 1 and 2 originally due to come online in 2012.

An estimated cost of between $2 and $3 billion per phase puts the total cost of the project at a potential $18 billion, and subsequent phases are due to come online from 2013.

Essentially one plant constructed of six stations, each will have an operating capacity of around 1,500 megawatts, and the initial stage was originally to be overseen by Mott MacDonald, selected by DEWA to engineer P1’s station, seawater intake and outfall system.

However, in March this year DEWA launched a new tender, with bids expected to be submitted in May, and revised the completion date for the initial phases to late 2014 or early 2015.

Primary fuel for the plant will be natural gas, using diesel oil as a secondary source, with the first phase incorporating a combined-cycle gas turbine system constructed of four F-Class gas turbines, four heat recovery steam generators and two back pressure steam turbines.

Six desalination units on the site will be fed by a 4km canal, which was begun in 2009 and will be capable of shifting 90,000 gallons of water a second along the site’s northern edge.

Jordan National Red Sea Water Development Project
Project: Jordan National Red Sea Water Development Project
Country: Jordan
Main Contractor: TBC
Completion: 2014
Cost: $10 billion

In a rare cross-border cooperation between Jordan, Israel and Palestine, it was announced that a feasibility study into a project to provide power, desalinated water and a fighting chance for the shrinking Dead Sea, was underway.

The two-year study was however, deemed by Jordanian authorities to be an unnecessary delay, and work began on the Jordan National Red Sea Water Development Project, which recently shortlisted six firms as potential master developers.

The ambitious project will see two billion cubic metres of water extracted from the Red Sea every year, of which 930 million will be desalinated by twin large-scale reverse osmosis plants to provide freshwater for Jordan.

Two seawater and one freshwater hydro-electric power stations will also be constructed to capture approximately 180 megawatts of electricity a year, and currently the project’s five-phase plan dictates first water delivery of 210 million cubic feet per year in 2018, finishing with 930 million cubic feet per year by 2055.

Yanbu IWPP
Project: Yanbu IWPP
Country: Saudi Arabia
Main Contractor: Hanwha Engineering & Construction Corporation
Completion: 2012

Cost: $4 billion

Korea’s Hanwha Engineering & Construction Corporation has recently been awarded the EPC contract to set up two steam turbine generator plants in Yanbu. The company will also build a new desalination plant to help cope with increasing demand for water in the area, as the Yanbu Industrial City undergoes major expansion works.

The EPC contract is for an oil-fired power plant with a generating capacity of 2,500 megawatts, and a desalination output of 550,000 cubic metres a day.

The project was originally put on hold but following the recent award is currently at engineering stage, with planners estimating that the facility will start commercial operation within 36 months, with the first unit coming online in May 2012 and the second by July of the same year.

Bushehr Nuclear Facility
Project: Bushehr Nuclear Facility
Country: Iran
Main Contractor: Atomstroyexport
Completion: 2011
Cost: $4-6 billion

Iran’s controversial nuclear power plant has been in the news a lot recently, as the nation’s foreign policy committee announced it would be connected to the national grid by midsummer 2011.

The plant, which has caused international outcry among those fearful Iran’s nuclear intentions may be less than savoury, has been plagued by setbacks since its inception in the late 1970s, the latest of which saw its Russian builders removing fuel rods from the facility’s reactor after the breakdown of a cooling pump.

Initially able to produce 400 megawatts of power, within two to three months Bushehr will be running at full capacity with a generation of 1,000 megawatts, accounting for a fortieth of the nation’s total electricity output.

Ras Al Zour
Project: Ras Al Zour
Country: Saudi Arabia
Main Contractor: Doosan Heavy Industries, Al-Arrab Contracting, Sepco III
Completion: 2014
Cost: $4-6 billion

In November last year, Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) announced that it had signed contracts worth more than $4 billion to build a new power plant on the Arabian Gulf, that would also hold the world’s largest desalination facility.

Producing 2,400 megawatts of electricity and capable of putting out more than one million cubic metres of desalinated seawater per day, the plant was originally designed to be built and run by a private-sector consortium led by Sumitomo Corporation.

However, new contracts signed in 2010 went to a consortium led by South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co for the desalination plant, and the Al Arrab Contracting Company and China’s Sepco III Electric Power Construction Corporation for the power plant. Siemens is to provide the project with turbines, with the plant constructed using five separate groups of power generation.

The project is planned for completion in 2014 and will supply drinking water to Riyadh, Hafr Al-Batin and also to the Saudi Arabian Mining Company, forming part of a $400 billion fiscal stimulus package designed to ease Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil exports.

Ras Girtas IWPP
Project: Ras Girtas IWPP
Country: Qatar
Main Contractor: Mitsui
Completion: May 2011
Cost: $3.9 billion

In summer 2010, contractor Mitsui celebrated the completion of the first phase of Qatar’s multi-billion dollar Ras Girtas IWPP. Eight gas turbines became operational, and two months later the plant’s desalination units came online.

The first phase saw the plant achieve a generating capacity of 1,833 megawatts, but once fully operational the facility is designed to have a total installed capacity of 2,730 megawatts.

On completion the plant will also be capable of providing 63 million gallons of potable water a day from its 10 desalination units, but with the second phase initially planned for operation in April this year, the Qatar Electricity and Water Company’s general manager Fahad al Mohannadi has said that May is a more realistic deadline for the plant to come onstream.

The facility – which will be the country’s largest – has eight gas turbine generators, eight heat recovery steam generators, four steam turbine generators and 10 desalination units which, when all are operational, will boost Qatar’s total generating capacity to more than 9,000 megawatts.

The main contractor for the project is Japan’s Mitsui, but having been awarded the EPC contract, the company sub-contracted it to Hyundai, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and French company Sidem.

Rabigh Plant Extension – Phase 6
Project: Rabigh Plant Extension – Phase 6
Country: Saudi Arabia
Main Contractor: Doosan Heavy Industries
Completion: 2015
Cost: $3.44 billion

Another project that’s seen more than its fair share of delays, the sixth phase of this multi-billion dollar thermal power facility will boost the region’s generation capacity by 2,800 megawatts.

Main contractor Doosan was awarded the project in September last year by Saudi Electric Company, and over 50 months will produce, install and test equipment and facilities at the plant, which will generate power using four 700 megawatt units.

The company will also be responsible for the construction of fuel tanks, pipelines and related facilities at the plant, to be built 150km north of Jeddah.

Shuaiba 3 IPP
Project: Shuaiba 3 IPP
Country: Saudi Arabia
Main Contractor: Alstom
Completion: 2013
Cost: $3 billion

Alstom won the main construction contract for this 1,200 megawatt power plant expansion package back in 2008, having previously constructed the project’s earlier phases.

Aiming for a 2013 completion, when finished the plant - which is 100km south of Jeddah - will be constructed of 14, 400-megawatt generating units, amounting to a total output of 5,600 megawatts.

As the construction consortium’s leader, Alstom is to design, supply, install and commission the whole plant, which will include boilers designed to burn both crude and heavy fuel oil.

Key components include STF40 steam turbines, GIGATOP turbogenerators, seawater flue gas desulphurisation and auxiliary equipment, with Saudi Archirodon in charge of the project’s marine and civil works.

Shuweihat 2 IWPP
Project: Shuweihat 2 IWPP
Country: UAE
Main Contractor: Samsung Corporation, Siemens, Doosan Heavy Industries.
Completion: 2013
Cost: $2.9 billion

Owned by Ruwais Power Company, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Water and Electric Authority, GDF-SUEZ and Marubeni, The Shuweihat 2 power and desalination plant will be completed with a generating capacity of 1,600 megawatts of electricity, and the capability to produce 100 million gallons a day of desalinated water.

The eighth IWPP from ADWEA will be located in Jebel Dhana, Shuweihat, and main engineering, procurement and construction contractors have been announced as Samsung Corporation, Siemens and Doosan Heavy Industries.

The plant will be constructed on a build, own, operate basis, with completion in September 2011.

Jizan Economic City Power Plant
Project: Jizan Economic City Power Plant
Country: Saudi Arabia
Main Contractor: CPI Power Engineering
Completion: 2013
Cost: $2.5 billion

Awarded the main construction contract for the 2,400 megawatt power plant in 2008, construction on the project began in 2009 and is currently planned for completion in 2013.

The site will include a main power plant, desalination plant, electrical substation and fuel storage facilities, with planners intending the facility to generate sufficient capacity to cope with the Economic City’s demands, selling excess power to the national grid. The desalination plant, when finished, is expected to produce 200,000 cubic metres of potable water per day.

Jizan Economic City is located 725km south of Jeddah, and is tipped for completion in 2020.

Riyadh PP11
Project: Riyadh PP11
Country: Saudi Arabia
Main Contractor: Hyundai Heavy Industries, GE
Completion: 2012
Cost: $2.1 billion

Located at Dhuruma, about 80km west of Riyadh in Riyadh Central Province, this power plant is expected to produce 1,730 megawatts of electricity at what will be the Kingdom’s largest combined-cycle gas-fired power station.

Planned to produce some 15 per cent of the power generation capacity in Saudi Arabia’s central region, the facility is something of a landmark – the first gas turbine independent power plant for Saudi Electric Company, it’s also designed to address the Kingdom’s environmental needs, using clean-burning natural gas, highly efficient GE turbines and advanced emission control with dry low nitrogen dioxide technology.

GE will supply seven Frame 7FA gas turbines and two D11 steam turbines to the project, and in addition to providing the equipment, GE has also signed a Contractual Services Agreement (CSA) and will supply spare parts and maintenance services for the gas turbines over the next 20 years.

The second phase of the project, totalling 788 megawatts, is currently scheduled to enter commercial operation in mid 2012, with the second phase, an additional 941 megawatts, scheduled for commission by mid 2013.

Al Dur Power and Desalination Plant
Project: Al Dur Power and Desalination Plant
Country: Bahrain
Main Contractor: GE, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Degremont & Marubeni
Completion: 2011
Cost: $2.1 billion

Developed on a build, own, operate basis by a consortium comprising GDF Suez and Gulf Investment, the IWPP’s financial close occurred back in 2009, with 17 lenders in an eight-year international tranche.

In May 2010 commercial operation began with an output of 400 megawatts from the combined cycle gas turbine power plant, and Hyundai Heavy Industries, one of the project’s main contractors, tipped the facility for full operation by June 2011.

This will see output more than treble to 1,245 megawatts, and the accompanying desalination plant will help meet rising demand for water with a 48 million gallon per day capacity.

The plant’s turbines have been supplied by GE, with the main contract for the reverse osmosis desalination facility awarded to Degremont & Marubeni Corporation, a subsidiary of Suez Environment.

Al Duqm IWPP
Project: Al Duqm IWPP
Country: Oman
Main Contractor: TBC
Completion: 2016
Cost: $2 billion

Originally planned to be the first coal-fired power plant in the GCC region, with coal to be procured from Indonesia and South Africa, the Al Duqm IWPP was changed to a gas-fired plant in 2010 after studies by consultants were completed and concerns over feedstock supply were realised.

The plant would have required more than three million tonnes of coal per year, producing 420,000 tonnes of ash.

Planned for the Al Wusta region the plant, owned by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company, is intended to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity and despite being on hold, part of the project will be brought into operation in around April 2015, with initial completion still tipped for some time in early 2016 on a build, own operate basis.

The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company is expected to award a contract from its shortlist of bidders in August 2011

Project: Sur IPP
Country: Oman
Main Contractor: TBC
Completion: 2014
Cost: $2 billion

The shortlist for this IPP at Sur, on the Sultanate’s Sharqiya coast, is down to five bidders after one, AES Oasis Energy, opted out.

One of the remaining contenders – Marubeni Corporation (Japan), Siemens LLC (Germany), Sembcorp Utilities, Enka (Turkey) and Mitsui & Co – will shortly secure a licence to build the country’s largest greenfield power project, with an installed generation capacity of up to 2,000 megawatts.

The state-owned Oman Power and Water Procurement Company will oversee the build, and says that the first phase of development is expected ahead of summer peak demand in 2013, with full commissioning a year later, also ahead of summer peak demand.

The first phase will see 500 megawatts of generating capacity to come online, with the remaining 1,500 following. The IPP will be constructed on a build, own, operate basis.

Shuweihat S3 IPP
Project: Shuweihat S3 IPP
Country: Abu Dhabi
Main Contractor: Siemens and Daewoo Engineering
Completion: 2014
Cost: $1.5 billion

In April this year Abu Dhabi announced that Siemens had been awarded the contract for the construction of a turnkey, combined-cycle power plant in the Emirate. The company will build the Shuweihat S3 plant alongside its partner, Korean firm Daewoo Engineering & Construction Company.

The facility is planned to have a generating capacity of 1,600 megawatts, with Siemens supplying the main components, including four SGT5-4000F gas turbines, two SST5-4000 I-L steam turbines, six generators and an SPPA-T3000 electrical and L&C system.

Auxiliary systems and civil works will be the responsibility of Daewoo Engineering, with the plant planned for construction almost 300km west of Abu Dhabi. Originally, there were plans on the table for the build to incorporate a major desalination facility, but these plans have been shelved while the power project is fast tracked.

The facility’s purchasers are Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority and the Korea Electric Power Corporation, with the start of commercial operation planned for 2014. Shuweihat S3 will be built on a build, own, operate basis.

Salalah IWPP
Project: Salalah IWPP COUNTRY: Oman
Main Contractor: SEPCO, Teejan
Completion: 2012
Cost: $1 billion

Awarded to SembCorp Utilities and Oman Investment Corporation in 2009, a year later Omani firm Teejan Trading and Contracting Company signed an agreement with SEPCO Electric Power Construction Company to provide civil works for the independent water and power plant.

Planned to have generating capacity of 445 megawatts and a desalination output of 15 million gallons per day, the gas-fired plant will help meet the growing demands of the country’s Dhofar region.

Hydrochem, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyflux, is the sub-contractor for the reverse osmosis seawater desalination section, and the southern Oman project is expected to come online in mid 2012.

Post commissioning, the entire output from the facility is to be sold to the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company under a 15-year power and water purchase agreement.

Shams 1 Concentrated Solar Plant
Project: Shams 1 Concentrated Solar Plant
Country: UAE
Main Contractor: Masdar, Total, Abengoa
Completion: 2012
Cost: $600 million

Set to be one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plants – and the first of its kind in the Middle East – the Shams 1 solar project recently announced a $600 million financial close, making it the largest solar project transaction to date with financing from 10 regional and
international lenders.

The joint venture between Masdar (60 per cent) Total (20 per cent) and Abengoa (20 per cent) is to develop, operate and maintain the plant, directly contributing to the Abu Dhabi’s target of achieving seven per cent renewable energy power generation by 2020.

Located in Madinat Zayed, 120km south west of Abu Dhabi, the project is planned to incorporate 768 parabolic trough collectors spread over an area of 2.5 square kilometers, producing approximately 100 megawatts of power – enough to supply power to 62,000 homes.

Construction on the turnkey project is by Abener and Teyma – both subsidiaries of Abengoa Solar – with the steam turbines to be supplied by German firm Man Turbo.


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