Energy companies Aramco and TotalEnergies have joined forces with SABIC (Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation), a chemical manufacturer, to convert oil derived from plastic waste into circular polymers.

At the Jubail, Saudi Arabia-based SATORP refinery, a joint venture between Aramco and TotalEnergies, the companies processed plastic pyrolysis oil, also known as plastic waste-derived oil (PDO).

PDO was then used as a feedstock by SABIC affiliate Petrokemya to produce environmental organisation ISCC+ certified circular polymers.

The initiative intends to facilitate the development of a domestic value chain for the improved recycling of plastics into circular polymers in Saudi Arabia.

The method helps address the problem of end-of-life plastics by allowing the use of non-sorted polymers, which can be challenging to recycle mechanically.

Aramco president of downstream Mohammed Y. Al Qahtani said: “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.”

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TotalEnergies president, refining and chemicals Bernard Pinatel said: “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.”

France’s TotalEnergies and SABIC are founding members of the nonprofit Alliance to End Plastic Waste, which seeks to pool knowledge, resources and expertise to address contemporary waste management concerns.

SABIC EVP Petrochemicals (A) Sami Al-Osaimi said: “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.”