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Saudis To Award Nuclear Power Contracts In December

Saudi Arabia expects to award the contracts for the construction of its first nuclear reactors in December this year, and will be picking bidders from the pool of U.S., China, France, South Korea, and Russia, a Saudi official working with the project told Bloomberg on Monday.

Saudi Arabia has received requests from five bidders from those countries, said Abdulmalik Alsabery, a consultant in the business development department at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. Alsabery declined to name the companies on the short list.

“By April we will sign a project development agreement with two to three selected vendors,” Bloomberg quoted Alsabery as saying.

“We are going to have only one winner that will be building the two reactors,” he noted.

Saudi Arabia expects construction on the facilities to begin in 2019, aiming for commissioning them in 2027, the official said.

Each of the two reactors—in one single nuclear power plant—will have the capacity to produce between 2.2 GW and 3.3 GW, depending on the technology they would use, according to Alsabery.

The vendor and the Saudi government will provide financing, with the Saudis funding the larger share, the official told Bloomberg.

Saudi Arabia will soon initiative talks with the U.S. administration about the participation of U.S. nuclear energy companies in its nuclear project, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said at the end of December.

Related: Can The Oil Price Rally Continue?

The major oil exporter Saudi Arabia aims to lessen its domestic oil consumption and to diversify its economy from relying too much on oil.

According to King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, the sustainable energy mix for Saudi Arabia in 2032 will still see oil and gas as the primary energy source, but nuclear, solar, wind, waste-to-energy, and geothermal capacities will be added to meet growing demand. In 2032, the Saudi demand for electricity will exceed 120 GW, and the mix will be divided into 60 GW from hydrocarbons, 17.6 GW from nuclear, 41 GW from solar, 9 GW for wind, 3 GW from waste-to-energy, and 1 GW from geothermal sources.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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