Saudi Arabia’s ACWA expects NEOM hydrogen plant financing in Q3

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Dubai (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s utility developer ACWA Power (2082.SE), partly owned by the sovereign Public Investment Fund, expects to close financing for a multi-billion dollar green hydrogen plant in the third quarter, its chief executive said on Thursday.

The kingdom, one of the world’s top oil exporters, wants to become the biggest supplier of green hydrogen, aiming to produce around 4 million tonnes by 2030 as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s drive to diversify the economy.

“We should be sharing good news during Q3,” ACWA’s CEO Paddy Padmanathan told Reuters when asked about closing the project finance facility for the expected $5 billion plant which is being built in the planned futuristic city NEOM.

In a previous interview in October, Padmanathan had expected to have the financing in place in the first quarter.

Procurement for and construction of the green hydrogen plant are underway and it is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2026, Padmanathan said.

Several more plants are expected to follow as Saudi Arabia seeks to gain a first mover’s advantage and dominate the industry.

ACWA Power also expects to secure financing this year for the 700-megawatt Ar Rass photovoltaic solar plant in Al Qassim province, Padmanathan said.

The CEO said the effective blocking of the Black Sea following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused issues in delivering large equipment to ACWA projects in countries like Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.

“The projects are getting stressed due to supply chain constraints. It’s not just about even inflation anymore, it’s also availability,” Padmanathan said of ACWA projects generally.

Expected delays of roughly one to three months are manageable, he said, and the company is working with other partners, contractors and offtakers to navigate the issues as well as others caused by lockdowns in China.

“We kind of pass (the) risk, if you like, to other parties who are better able to manage (it),” he said.

ACWA brought 10 projects online last year and expects between seven and 10 to begin production this year.