Cadagua: The water business looks to the Middle East


Cadagua El negocio del agua mira a Oriente Medio Ever since its creation in 1971, Cadagua has maintained its international vocation. As far back as 1967 it won its first contract abroad, and today it is present in markets such as China, Saudi Arabia, France and the United Kingdom. Now it has stepped on the accelerator in the Middle East region with two new projects for water treatment plants. The sites chosen are Ajman and Oman, two regions that are looking to improve their water infrastructures to supply a growing population. The Spanish company, with headquarters in Bilbao, will make a joint investment of almost 110 million euros. In the Ajman plant, Cadagua will install desalination technology known as inverse osmosis, which is very different to that applied in the region to date. This technology involves a membrane desalination treatment and is particularly suitable for the area as it is optimal for adapting water and energy production to seasonal demand. The purifying plant in Oman, in turn, will become the third worldwide standard in size and MBR technology, a bio-membrane treatment system that provides higher-quality water.
The largest water market in the world
The growth experienced in the Middle East is spectacular. By 2030 the population will have grown by 65%, whereas annual increase in water demand stands at 6%. “This region, for evident reasons of water scarcity, constitutes the greatest desalination business in the world”, explains Antonio Casado, General Manager of Cadagua. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), composed of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, is one of the largest markets for the industry worldwide. The desert conditions, high GDP and intense demographic growth have led the region to commit an investment of over 50 trillion dollars to the water industry over the next ten years. Jesús Sancho, Director of Cadagua in the Middle East, adds that has been moderately affected by the slowdown. “The high price of the barrel of crude oil guarantees its stability and economic growth; hence its high strategic value for Cadagua,” concludes Sancho.
Oman and Ajman, the engines behind the region's development
The new Cadagua contracts in Ajman and Oman join the contract won in 2006 in Saudi Arabia for a value of 19.2 million euros. In order to consolidate its presence in the region, Cadagua will add to its Arab Emirates branch a new one in Oman's capital, Muscat. “Within the Arab world, Cadagua is bidding in Egypt (Abu Rawash), where it has pre-qualified for a purification mega-project; in Morocco (Jors Lafar) for a large-size desalination plant, and is participating in pre-qualification bids for other projects in Qatar, Saudi, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Emirates, Jordan and Syria,” says Sancho. Kuwait, which offers major opportunities, is another target for Cadagua. The Kuwait government is engaged in an ambitious plan of infrastructure-building and will invite tenders for contracts valued at 85 billion euros.


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