Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, and the chairman of the General Authority for Salt Water Desalination, Eng Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Fadhli, has inked the kingdom’s first commercial ‘bridge’ financing agreement with local banks worth $426.5m (SAR1.6bn) to improve the utilisation of assets and increase the efficiency of Phase 1 of the Jubail desalination plant and Stage 2 of the Al Khobar project.

The agreement, which was made in coordination with the National Center for Debt Management, will see the two projects replace current thermal technologies with modern reverse osmosis technologies at a capital cost of approximately $959.5m (SAR3.6bn).