Dh719m desalination plant to be opened in Ras Al Khaimah
Grupo Cobra managing director of infrastructure concessions Luis Rein, Utico chairman Rashid Al Baloushi and Utico managing director Richard Menezes at the signing ceremony in Dubai on Thursday.
Dubai - The facility will be located in the Al Hamra Jazeerah area of Ras Al Khaimah and will be the world's most environment-friendly desalination plant.
Utico Middle East and Grupo Cobra have announced a 60:40 joint venture partnership that will see the construction of a Dh719 million water desalination plant in Ras Al Khaimah.
The joint venture, to be called Al Hamra Water Company, will oversee the development of the world's largest privately-financed independent desalination company.
The facility will be located in the Al Hamra Jazeerah area of Ras Al Khaimah and will be the world's most environment-friendly desalination plant.
A shareholders' agreement was signed in Dubai on Thursday by senior officials of Utico Middle East and Grupo Cobra.
Richard Menezes, Utico's managing director, noted that while the desalination plant was not the first of its kind in the region, it was certainly the most unique.
"This project will set a new trend in the market and in the region," he said.
He explained that the state-of-the-art facility has one of the lowest power consumption levels in the region, as well as water re-use saving at least 33,280 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. These factors will help the facility to reduce the impact on climate change as well as provide quality water to all consumers.
Once completed in 2017, the Al Hamra Water Company will generate 22 million gallons of water per day to serve the needs of Ras Al Khaimah and the surrounding regions. The project will create 300 jobs during the construction phase and 80 permanent positions once operational. About 20-25 per cent of these jobs will be offered to Emirati nationals after training them for a year.
Luis Rein, managing director of infrastructure concessions at Grupo Cobra, said that the new facility was part of a strategy to increase the group's footprint in the Middle East.
"Over the past few years, the Middle East's infrastructure industry, including the desalination market, is witnessing increasing activity and we are keen to expand our profile here. I am confident that our partnership with Utico will help in maintaining our leadership profile in the world and in this important market," he said, adding that he was confident that the project will be a success," he said.
Rashid Al Baloushi, chairman of Utico, said that the project is a path-breaking development and that it comes at the right time especially when governments are removing subsidies for fuel and services.
"Utico has been a visionary utilities service provider that grew with opportunity and support from the Government of Ras Al Khaimah and Federal Water and Electricity Authority as well as federal ministries and authorities. Our unique model of utilities development, combined with a pro-consumer, environment-friendly approach, has been widely recognised by governments and other utilities providers in the region," he said.