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  • Steve Halor

MENA region's first oil processing from plastic waste for circular polymers.

For the first time in the Middle East and North Africa, Aramco, TotalEnergies, and SABIC successfully transformed oil obtained from plastic waste into ISCC+ certified circular polymers. The plastic pyrolysis oil, also known as plastic waste derived oil (PDO), was processed at the SATORP refinery in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, which is jointly operated by Aramco and TotalEnergies. After that, it was utilized as a feedstock by PETROKEMYA, a subsidiary of SABIC, to create approved circular polymers.

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the initiative intends to open the door for the development of a domestic value chain for the improved recycling of plastics into circular polymers. The method helps to address the issue of end-of-life plastics by allowing the use of non-sorted polymers, which can be challenging to recycle mechanically.

Obtaining ISCC+ accreditation was a first step in the project's development because it ensured the transparency and traceability of the origin of recycled feedstock and products. The process involved the SATORP refinery, the Ju'aymah NGL Fractionation Plant owned by Aramco, and PETROKEMYA. All of them were successful in earning the ISCC+ accreditation, which allowed for the creation of circular materials.

President of Downstream at Aramco Mohammed Y. Al Qahtani stated: "This accomplishment highlights the significance of the petrochemical industry in developing more sustainable goods and solutions. While advancing our goal of achieving net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions across all of our wholly-owned operated assets by 2050, our goal is to develop circular solutions for plastic waste. We want to create circular products that can be scaled up cheaply by utilizing the excess capacity of the current infrastructure. To assist the adoption of circular, more sustainable, and lower-carbon products, Aramco is looking into a number of ways to leverage current assets and tap into new technology.

"This advanced plastic recycling initiative reflects TotalEnergies' ambition to concretely contribute to addressing the challenge of end-of-life of plastics," stated Bernard Pinatel, President, Refining & Chemicals, TotalEnergies. The partners' technological know-how and experience are being used in a number of other circular economy projects, which will advance the recycling of plastics. It is a significant step towards TotalEnergies' goal of producing 30% circular polymers by 2030 and its plan of creating a multi-energy firm with the goal of reaching net zero jointly with society by the year 2050.

"SABIC is a national leader in chemicals that supports Saudi Vision 2030, ensuring sustainable future growth by focusing on environment, energy, and climate," said Sami Al-Osaimi, SABIC EVP Petrochemicals (A). Through its creative capabilities and cutting-edge technology, SABIC is committed to avoiding landfill and incineration, and this project is in line with that objective. This initiative exemplifies working together throughout the entire petrochemical value chain to address upstream and downstream issues with circular plastics. In order to help our customers find more sustainable solutions, SABIC recently announced its goal of producing one million metric tons of TRUCIRCLE TM products by 2030.

The non-profit Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which intends to pool expertise, resources, and experience to address contemporary waste management concerns, was founded by SABIC and TotalEnergies as founding members.

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