TotalEnergies, Aramco and SABIC have for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa successfully converted oil derived from plastic waste into ISCC+ certified circular polymers. The plastic pyrolysis oil, also called plastic waste derived oil (PDO), was processed at the SATORP refinery jointly owned by Aramco and TotalEnergies, in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. It was then used as a feedstock by Petrokemya, a SABIC affiliate, to produce certified circular polymers.
The project aims to pave the way for the creation of a domestic value chain for the advanced recycling of plastics to circular polymers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The process allows the use of non-sorted plastics, which can be difficult to recycle mechanically, and consequently contributes to solving the challenge of end-of-life plastics.
A first milestone for the project was obtaining ISCC+ certification to assure transparency and traceability of the recycled origin of feedstock and products. Three industrial plants were involved in the process: SATORP refinery, Aramco’s Ju’aymah NGL Fractionation Plant and Petrokemya. All successfully obtained the ISCC+ certification, enabling the production of circular materials.
Mohammed Y. Al Qahtani, Aramco’s President of Downstream, said: “This achievement illustrates the importance of the petrochemical sector in creating more sustainable products and solutions. Our aim is to create circular solutions for plastic waste, while also making progress on our ambition to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions across our wholly-owned operated assets by 2050. By leveraging spare capacity of existing infrastructure, we aim to produce circular products that could be scaled up at low cost. Aramco is considering multiple ways of tapping into new technologies and leveraging existing assets to support the deployment of circular, more sustainable and lower-carbon products.”
According to Bernard Pinatel, President, Refining & Chemicals, TotalEnergies, “This advanced plastic recycling initiative reflects TotalEnergies’ ambition to concretely contribute to addressing the challenge of end-of-life of plastics. Several other circular economy projects are being studied, leveraging the partners’ technical expertise and experience to further contribute to plastics recycling. “It is a major pathway towards TotalEnergies’ target to produce 30% of circular polymers by 2030, and its strategy to build a multi-energy company with the ambition to get to net zero by 2050, together with society.”
Sami Al-Osaimi, SABIC EVP Petrochemicals (A), said: “SABIC is a national champion in chemicals that supports Saudi Vision 2030, ensuring sustainable future growth by focusing on environment, energy and climate. This project is aligned with SABIC’s commitment to avoid landfill and incineration through its innovation competencies and advanced technology. This project shows collaboration across the petrochemical value chain to overcome upstream and downstream challenges in circular plastics. To this end, SABIC recently announced its target of one million metric tons of TRUCIRCLE ™ solutions by 2030, which intends to help provide our customers with more sustainable solutions.”
SABIC and TotalEnergies are founding members of the non-profit organization Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which aims to bring collective knowledge, resources and experience to address current waste management challenges.