In the first such major development in the Middle East and North Africa region, Saudi Arabia has successfully converted oil derived from plastic waste into certified circular polymers. The plastic waste derived oil, also referred to as plastic pyrolysis oil, was processed at the Jubail-based Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical refinery which is jointly owned by the Kingdom’s energy giant and France’s Total Energies, according to a statement. The refinery was used by Riyadh-based chemical manufacturing company SABIC’s affiliate Petrokemya in order to produce circular polymers. The process contributes to combating and solving the challenge of end-of-life plastics as it allows the use of non-sorted plastics which are hard to recycle mechanically.
“This achievement illustrates the importance of the petrochemical sector in creating more sustainable products and solutions,” Aramco’s President of Downstream Mohammed Al-Qahtani said. “By leveraging (the) spare capacity of existing infrastructure, we aim to produce circular products that could be scaled up at low cost,” Al Qahtani added. He revealed that Aramco is considering several ways of tapping into new technologies as well as leveraging existing assets in an attempt to further back the deployment of circular, more sustainable, and lower-carbon products. In a move to assure transparency and traceability of the recycled origin of feedstock and products, the project has obtained International Sustainability and Carbon Certification + certification, an independent multi-stakeholder initiative system supporting sustainable, fully traceable and climate-friendly supply chains. Total Energies’ President of Refining and Chemicals Bernard Pinatel stressed that this project falls in line with the firm’s goal to concretely contribute to addressing the challenge of end-of-life of plastics.
“It is a major pathway towards Total Energies’ target to produce 30 percent 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,” said Pinatel. SABIC’s Executive Vice President of Petrochemicals Sami Al-Osaimi noted that the project also aligns well with the company’s commitment to curb landfill and incineration through its innovation, competencies, as well as advanced technology.“This project shows collaboration across the petrochemical value chain to overcome upstream and downstream challenges in circular plastics,” Al-Osaimi added. Both SABIC and Total Energies are founding members of a non-profit organization known as Alliance to End Plastic Waste which seeks to bring collective knowledge, resources, and experience to address present waste management challenges.