Private Water Players Reshaping Global Desalination

Feb. 4, 2016
Private water players took active role in desalination market in 2015, according to Bluefield Research study

The top 25 desalination system owners, including both public and private companies, added approximately 25% of total capacity additions in 2015, representing an estimated 524,000 cu meters per day. Private water players took an active role in the desalination market in 2015, representing nine of the top 10 biggest movers by capacity additions, according to rankings released by Bluefield Research.

With the commissioning of its Carlsbad, Calif., desalination plant, Poseidon Resources became the first U.S. company to rank among the top 25 private water owners globally, according to Bluefield Research.

"Poseidon's new position highlights the role of private players in desalination particularly as governments and utilities seek strategies to minimize the impact of diminishing water supplies," said Reese Tisdale, president of Bluefield Research.

Currently, 85% of the top 25 players' capacity is held in the Middle East-North Africa region, driven by state-owned entity assets and independent water providers. While the lion's share of development activity will continue in this region, desalination will enable key players to scale their water portfolios in global hot spots like Chile, Mexico, India and Singapore.

"Competition for new plant additions is intense.  There are so few large-scale water projects being tendered at any given time, we have seen a spike in geographic diversification among companies like Hyflux, GS Inima, RWL Water and Acciona Agua," says Tisdale.

Looking forward, Bluefield foresees additional shifts though mergers and acquisitions. Several companies, including Israel Chemicals and Delek Group have hinted at divestment, and Spain-based Abengoa has entered into bankruptcy proceedings that could result in a sell-off of its ownership stakes in Ghana and Algeria.

Bluefield analyzes the ownership positions, geographies, and plants of the largest desalination owners by capacity, including government entities, pure-play water companies, Japanese trading houses and infrastructure investors. These and other conclusions are found in Bluefield's annual rankings.

Source: Bluefield Research

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