Yanbu Phase III is the world’s biggest oil-fired power plant under construction. Credit: SEPCO III.
A desalination plant is also being constructed alongside Yanbu Phase III. Credit: SEPCO III.
Yanbu Phase III power plant is being constructed by Saline Water Conversion Corporation. Credit: SEPCO III.
SEPCO III is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor of the Yanbu Phase III power plant. Credit: SEPCO III.

Yanbu III is a 3,300MW dual fuel-fired power plant that is being constructed in western Saudi Arabia, 50km south of the Red Sea-facing city Yanbu al-Bahr.

Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has main authority over the project, which is spread across 3.15km² and will have a water desalination plant built alongside it.

The construction work on the project began in May 2017, with its commissioning expected in 2020.

Yanbu III will provide 2.7GW of electricity to the Saudi grid, producing 550,000m³ of fresh water every day.

Yanbu III plant make-up

Yanbu III will feature five supercritical boilers, each producing 660MW of electricity. The power plant burns heavy fuel oil and gas for power production.

The basic layout of the project includes LT-338U steam turbines, generators, plant transformers and mains transformers, along with associated equipment.

Units one, two and three were connected to the grid in July 2019, while the construction works on the fourth unit were expected to be completed by the end of the same year.

Energy off-take

The net power generation capacity of the project is estimated to be 2,700MW. Saudi Arabian corporation SWCC will provide 1,850MW to Saudi Electricity Company and 650MW to Power and Water Utility Company for the cities of Al Jubail and Yanbu.

The plant will also supply 200MW to the desalination plant, which will be an important source of water for Medina.

The electricity generated at the Yanbu III power plant will be transferred to the grid in the western part of Saudi, which serves the cities of Jeddah, Yanbu, Mecca and Medina.

Contractors involved

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project was awarded to Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation III (SEPCO III) in May 2017. SEPCO III is a subsidiary company of Power China.

“Yanbu III will provide 2.7GW of electricity to the Saudi grid, producing 550,000m³ of fresh water every day.”

Engineering and consultancy firm Fichtner is also involved in the construction of the Yanbu III power plant, while AMCDE subsidiary Kinetic Energy Factory Company was awarded a contract for the supply of variable and constant springs for the project.

In April 2013, Alstom was awarded a contract for the supply of equipment that included five STF60 steam turbines, five top-gas turbo-generators, supercritical boilers, electrostatic precipitators and a fuel gas desulphurisation system. The deal covers power block basic engineering, advisory services for EPC and commissioning, too.

In January 2014, General Electric was contracted to supply electrical variable speed drive system technology along with motors and MV7000 drives for the Yanbu III power plant and the desalination plant.

Funke was awarded a contract for the supply of heat transfer equipment.

Controversy over Yanbu III power plant deal

Al-Toukhi and Samsung Engineering consortium were awarded a $3bn contract for the construction of the Yanbu III power and desalination plant in December 2012.

The consortium carried out the preparatory and EPC works on the plant until January 2017, when Samsung Engineering and SWCC terminated the contract due to changes in the turbine specifications.

The project’s completion date was pushed back from 2016 to a future date following the termination of the contract.

SEPCO III replaced Samsung Engineering with another contractor in May 2017. In November of the same year, Samsung Engineering approached the World Bank International Centre for settlement of investment disputes for dispute arbitration.