SR1.3b Saudi-Japanese water desalination venture set up

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Under the patronage of Abdullah Al-Hussayyen, Minister of Water and Electricity, a Saudi and two Japanese companies announced the formation of the Arabian Japanese Membrane Company (AJMC) with an estimated capitalization of over SR1.3 billion, the first ever industrial project established for manufacturing reverse osmosis membranes in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to the media after the signing ceremony, Al-Hussayyen said the reverse osmosis (RO) membrane manufacturing project will partially meet the growing demand for desalinated water in the Kingdom. “Although not all desalination projects in Saudi Arabia use SRO technology, the manufacture of RO membranes by AJMC will contribute in a big way to the Saudi water industry,” the minister said. Most desalination in the Kingdom is done through a process called multi-stage flashing (MSF), but RO has emerged as an important water desalination technology industry, which Al-Hussayyen said is growing at a rate of 20 percent annually.

“One is always glad to attend the signing ceremony of a project of such magnitude and its significance increases and becomes memorable if the project is of a high-tech nature,” Al-Hussayyen said, referring to the formation of AJMC.

“By all means it (AJMC) is very important and timely for Saudi Arabia, which is in the heart of the desalination world,” he said.

The establishment of AJMC, the minister said, will not only cater to the growing needs of the Kingdom but will also cover other Gulf countries that account for over 70 percent of total desalinated water. In this context, he said it would be natural for Saudi Arabia to become an industrial base for the water desalination industry and desalination plants.

The signing ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel here was also attended by Dr. Khaled Al-Sulaiman, Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry for Industrial Affairs, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Director General of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON), and a large number of Saudi and Japanese guests. Mohammed Abunayyan, president AJMC, said the company will manufacture Reverse Osmosis membrane elements for seawater desalination using Hollow Fiber Technology. The membranes manufactured will supply potable water to Saudi Arabia which is the largest country in the world utilizing seawater desalination technology due to the scarcity of natural water resources. “Securing water resources is of paramount importance in the Kingdom, and this new company will contribute to the nation’s potable water supply,” he said. – SG