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Plastic waste successfully converted into oil at SATORP refinery

Plastic waste successfully converted into oil at SATORP refinery
Photo courtesy of TotalEnergies

TotalEnergies, Aramco and SABIC have successfully converted oil derived from plastic  waste into ISCC+ certified circular polymers for the  first time in the Middle East and North Africa.

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 Saudi Arabia. The process allows  the use of unsorted plastics, which can be difficult to recycle mechanically.

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. 

“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,” said Mohammed Y. Al Qahtani, president, Downstream, Aramco.

“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.” 

“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  recycled plastics 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 Bernard Pinatel, president, Refining & Chemicals, TotalEnergies.

“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,” said Sami Al-Osaimi, EVP, Petrochemicals, SABIC.