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Singapore awards $345m desalination PPP to Keppel

The project, set to deliver the city-state’s fourth desalination plant, attracted 16 offers from seven local and international bidders.

Keppel Infrastructure has been chosen by PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, as the preferred bidder for the country’s fourth desalination PPP, to be located in Marina East. 

The Temasek-backed entity will form a concession company to enter into a water purchase agreement with the government next month. Once the plant is complete and commence operations in 2020, Keppel Infrastructure will deliver around 137,000 cubic metres of water per day to the country. The contract will span 25 years, ending in 2045. 

Keppel declined to provide further details on the project, but a local report estimated that the contract would be worth up to S$500 million ($345 million; €331 million).

PUB said that the open tender attracted 16 bids from seven contenders, comprising both local and international companies. The PPP was procured under a design, build, own and operate model. 

The Marina East Desalination Plant is an “iconic” project, said Ong Tiong Guan, chief executive of Keppel Infrastructure, adding the project is expected to handle treatments of both reservoir and sea water. 

Keppel and its subsidiaries have experience in designing and building water facilities. The firm’s portfolio includes Singapore’s fourth NEWater plant and the country’s fifth waste-to-energy plant, as well as the Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre and Doha North Sewage Treatment in Qatar. 

“Desalinated water is an important part of our water supply portfolio,” said Chua Soon Guan, PUB’s Deputy Chief Executive of Policy and Development. He added that PUB has plans to expand Singapore’s desalination capacity to meet up to 30 percent of its future water needs. Currently desalination supplies 25 percent of the country’s water demand. 

In addition to desalination, Singapore’s water is sourced from local catchments, imported water from neighbouring Malaysian state Johor and NEWater, a high-grade reclaimed water product developed by Singapore.