DUBAI, United Arab
Emirates - With its emergence as a world business hub as well as
a tourist attraction, the ritzy trade port of Dubai is often
called the "Hong Kong of the Middle East."
desalination and power plants in Fujairah, Sohar
By Kim So-hyun - The
This sandy city
turned green years ago with constant tree planting thanks to the
massive supply of water from desalination plants nearby.
Sprinklers water palm trees lined along the roads and small
plantations are not hard to spot. Like underground heating pipes
in Korea, water hoses meander under the turfs, trees and
Just a mere two-hour
drive across the Hajar Mountains from Dubai lies a desalination
plant built by Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. in
Fujairah, one of the seven emirates or territory under each
sheik of the United Arab Emirates.
desalination and power-generation plants in Fujairah,
United Arab Emirates Doosan Heavy
Facing the Gulf of
Oman with a backdrop of stony mountains, the plant pumps out
450,000 metric tons (100 million gallons) of fresh water
everyday. It boasted the world's biggest production capacity
until the Shuaiba project (880,000 tons per day) in Saudi Arabia
kicked off. The water from the Fujairah plant is delivered
nearly 300 kilometers south to Al Ain, the country's fourth
largest city adjacent to the border with Oman. The commercial
hub of Dubai and the capital of Abu Dhabi are supplied partly
with water from another desalination plant built by Doosan last
year in Jebel Ali.
desalination plant was completed in June 2004 along with a
powerhouse. Doosan Heavy received the $800 million order in 2001
from the government of UAE and built the plants with its own
engineering technologies. It took only 22 months before the
initial production of desalted water in April 2003.
"The Fujairah plants
account for 8.9 percent of UAE's total electric power production
and 26.5 percent of the country's desalinated water," said Byun
Hee-tae, a managing staff of Doosan's Fujairah facility. "UAE's
desalination market is expected to double or triple in the
method was applied to the Fujairah facility where the
evaporators, the core of desalination plants, were entirely
produced and shipped from the company's headquarters in Changwon.
Instead of assembling parts of the gigantic evaporator at the
plant site, Doosan carried the equipment on a
football-field-sized barge, reducing the duration of
construction by more than six months.
feature of the Fujairah plant is that it was the world's first
hybrid utilizing two methods - evaporation and filtration. The
evaporation or multi-stage flashing facility is expensive to
build but its maintenance costs little. It is vice versa for
filtration. The demand for a hybrid system is increasing because
it is efficient and economic. In the summer, when the demand for
electricity is high, the heat generated from the powerhouse can
be used for desalination via the evaporation method. The
filtering method can be used during the winter when the power
plant doesn't have to be in full operation.
MSF involves the
heating of seawater in a container known as a brine heater and
condensing the steam to produce fresh water. Filtering is
achieved by reverse osmosis or a process of pushing a solution
through a filter that traps the solute on one side and allows
the pure solvent to be obtained from the other side. It
basically forces a solvent from a region of high solute
concentration through a membrane to a region of low solute
concentration by applying pressure in excess of the osmotic
Another two hours'
drive across the barren lands from Fujairah takes one to
Doosan's desalination and power generation plants under
construction in the port city of Sohar, Oman, located 250
kilometers northwest of the capital Muscat.
a fishing town, is burgeoning into an industrial town with a
refinery. Doosan Heavy won the $410 million order two years ago
for engineering, procurement and construction of both plants on
a 120,000-square-meter site in the Sohar industrial enclave.
facility is capable of desalting 150,000 tons of seawater per
day, enough for 500,000 people to use. The 596-megawatt thermo
electric power plant is slated for completion in April next
"It is the first EPC
project run by a single contractor with its own technologies,"
said Kim Sang-baek, a Doosan manager at Sohar. "An EPC requires
high technology and know-how as it involves supply of equipment
in addition to building."
staff including Kim and 130 local workers are sweating away at
the site which has seen 95 percent of the construction
completed. A sign at the site reads "The Safe Way Is the Right
"Daewoo and Hyundai
built the breakwater and walls of Sohar port in early 2000 and
Doosan and GS Caltex came in October 2004," Kim said. "Officers
of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. are asking for
our advice as they consider building a shipyard in southern
Doosan is the
world's No. 1 desalination plant builder with 1.38 million tons
per day in total capacity contracted.
($220 billion) and desalination ($80 billion) plant orders worth
$300 billion are expected to come from UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi,
Kuwait and Jordan until 2025," said Ahn Hyun-sang, Doosan
Heavy's vice president and regional head of the Middle East and
Africa. "Even if Doosan continues to cover just 40 percent of
the desalination market, it would be $40 billion in new orders."
Ahn added that more
financing support by the Korean government is necessary in order
to win larger deals.
"The size of the
plant projects have become much bigger so we need more bond
guarantee from state-owned banks," Ahn said. "Then we can lead
the Middle Eastern plant market - which was dominated by
Japanese companies in the 1980s - for the next 10 years without
being chased by the Chinese."
superintendent of the Sohar plant, said that Doosan rivals its
Japanese and European counterparts in terms of technology and
"Doosan will enjoy
good business because the Middle Eastern desalination market is
expanding," he said.
Korean companies won
16 percent of the plant orders ranging from desalination to
petrochemicals in the region in 2005, according to data released
by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.