Prysmian produces cables for 3 GW link between Middle East and North Africa

Italian cabling giant Prysmian has completed the manufacturing of cables for the submarine power interconnection between Egypt and Saudi Arabia – the first-ever large-scale link between the Middle East and North Africa.

Prysmian secured the contract worth about €221 million with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) and the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) in 2021 for the project that will enable the exchange of up to 3,000 MW of electricity.

The scope includes the design, supply, installation and commissioning of around 127.5 kilometers of HVDC ±500kV MI submarine single-core cables, 43.5 kilometers of 66kV XLPE submarine single-core cables and double-wire armoring, and 61 kilometers of MINISUB submarine fiber optic cables for telecommunications and distributed temperature sensing (DTS) monitoring.

To execute the project, Prysmian established local branches in the Egyptian capital Cairo and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, with two new local teams coordinated by the project management team.

The project’s cable route will cross the Gulf of Aqaba, spanning the territorial waters of Egypt and Saudi Arabia with a route length of approximately 20 kilometers and deep-water installation at around 900 meters, in addition to sections of underground land cables between the landfall and the transition stations located on each side.

This wider interconnection will transport electricity between the Badr substation in Cairo and the Madinah East substation in Saudi Arabia.

“This is the first experience in the Aqaba gulf connecting the two countries, in deep water with a complex sea bed and the first submarine DC project with mass impregnated technology (MI),” Simone Volpato, Middle East Portfolio Director for Prysmian PowerLink.

“In addition, due to the presence of corals near the two countries’ landfall, we had to implement an HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) method on both sides in order to avoid any possible damage to the marine environment.”

The MI cables for the project were produced in Arco Felice, Italy, while the fiber optic submarine cables were produced in Nordenham, Germany.

Offshore installation activities will be performed by the company’s cable-laying vessels. Delivery and commissioning of the project are scheduled for 2024.