Saudi Arabia to establish its first nuclear power plant

Saudi Arabia announced that it will soon choose a site for its first nuclear power plant as the world’s biggest crude exporter seeks to diversify its sources of energy, said Bloomberg

Speaking at the Oil and Money conference in London Wednesday, Khalid Al-Falih, the country’s energy minister, said that the state oil company plans to boost its refining and chemicals business and expand into cleaner energy such as nuclear power..

He added “We hope within the next 12 months that we will be announcing concrete plans.”

The government wants to make sure all “regulatory steps” are taken beforehand, he said. Wind and solar power will also play a “very significant part” of Saudi Arabia’s energy mix, Al-Falih said.

The Korean company “Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction” has secured a $900 million contract to build a combined-cycle power plant in Saudi Arabia, according to Korea joongang daily newspaper.

The construction arm of Doosan Group will build a power plant in Fadhili, about 50 miles inland from the eastern port city of Jubail, to provide heat and electricity to the Fadhili gas complex.

The project, initiated by the state-run Saudi Electricity Company and Saudi Aramco, is scheduled for completion by November 2019.

According to Al-Shark Al-Awsat newspaper, The Saudi minister outlined the rapidly changing landscape in the energy industry since OPEC last month in Algeria to modestly cut its output.

Bloomberg reported that Saudi Arabia is trying to reduce the economy’s dependence on hydrocarbons as low oil prices strain the budget.

The country raised $17.5 billion this week in the biggest bond sale from an emerging-market nation as it seeks to bridge a deficit that widened last year to about 15 percent of gross domestic product.

The Kingdom has also a target of generating 6 to 7 gigawatts of electricity from the nuclear power by 2032, rising to 17 gigawatts by 2040, Maher al-Odan, an adviser to the government on renewable energy planning, said in April last year.

It is noteworthy that Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates is building the Gulf region’s first nuclear power plant. The reactor, one of four that the Emirate is planning, is scheduled to be completed in 2017.