Saudi Crown Prince MBS received a rude shock as Neom City canceled a project for the first time. A mammoth $1.5 billion desalination plant, which was to deliver 30% of the water for the gigaproject, has been axed, making it clear that the scaling back rumors are true.

Neom City, Saudi Arabia’s $1.5 trillion example of futuristic and sustainable living, is changing its colors more than a chameleon. While it is an established fact that the megaprojects will be developed in phases, as seen with The Line, the latest development hints there may be some truth to the scaling back of Neom City. The cancellation of the $1.5bn desalination plant project has left the joint development agreement (JDA) between Neom’s Enowa, Japan’s Itochu, and France’s Veolia null and void.

The plant was to be built at the port city of Oxagon.

This project was aimed at delivering up to 2 million cubic meters a day of desalinated water to Neom, equivalent to about 30% of the gigaproject’s expected total water demand once complete. The developer team shared earlier that the target operation date for the project’s first phase was 2025, with a capacity of 500,000 cm/d.

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A rendering of the Oxagon.

Clearly, the project is nowhere near completion, including its phase one, which is now set to be completed by 2030. In a statement sent to Meed, Enowa said Neom’s water requirements have evolved over the last year, “leading us to adopt a stepwise approach to expanding capacity. As a result, we’ve decided to discontinue our joint development agreement (JDA) for this project. This decision was made after open communication and extensive discussions to ensure mutual understanding and commitment. Our dedication to delivering sustainable and innovative solutions remains unchanged, and we value our collaboration with international partners as we adjust our approach to best serve Neom’s long-term goals.”

With no phases in place, there is certainly no current need for a nearly $2 billion desalination plant, and this marks the first time Neom has actually canceled a project. The teams will perhaps focus on developing a smaller desalination plant in the future. The original plan was to set up Neom’s revolutionary desalination plant in the industrial port of Oxagon, which is also touted to be the world’s largest floating structure. Neom City is to house around 90,000 by 2030, and this plant would produce 500,000 cubic meters of desalinated water per day.

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Proposed site of the Neom’s hydrogen plant.

From water, waste, and energy management to fulfilling 30% of the city’s anticipated total water demand for residential, industrial, and commercial use, the plant was an imperative part of Neom’s sustainable infrastructure. In addition to the desalination plant that was an essential element in providing 100% renewable energy, Neom will also include a green hydrogen plant, which will be the worlds largest if built as per current plans.

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.