Sabic plans to increase petrochemical capacity and close the loop on plastic

3 January 2023 | Muriel Cozier

New production in the Middle East will help meet local demand as living standards rise.

Sabic has set out plans to develop petrochemical capacity as well as accelerate its move towards circularity.

Partnering with OQ and Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI), a Project Development Agreement has been signed whereby the three companies are set to establish a petrochemical complex located in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm in the Sultanate of Oman. The petrochemical complex and derivative facilities will be based around a steam cracker with a natural gas liquid extraction facility. Feedstock will be sourced from the OQ8 refinery in Duqm, a joint venture between OQ and KPI.

While the capacity of the project was not disclosed, it has been described by the partners as a ‘mega project’ which would ‘support the region’s development aspirations’. The partners added that demand for petrochemicals is expected to continue to grow as living standards improve, particularly in markets close to Oman.

In a separate development Sabic, along with Aramco and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for an economic and technical feasibility study to develop an integrated petrochemical complex as part of an existing refinery in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. Sabic said that this development is in line with its strategy to convert some 4 million barrels per day of crude oil into chemicals.

Meanwhile, in a move to realise its vision of ‘closing the loop on used plastic,’ Sabic has signed a Joint Development and Cooperation Agreement with Synova and Technip Energies to develop a commercial facility producing olefins and aromatics from plastic waste. The facility will be integrated into one of Sabic’s steam crackers and utilise technology developed by Synova and Technip Energies. The combined technology is said to efficiently convert plastic waste into high-value chemicals.

Commenting on the agreement, Frederick Hoomaert, General Manager Chemicals Technology & Innovation at Sabic said: ‘We were the first in our industry to commit to the up-scaling of the advanced recycling of used plastics. This new cooperation is another example of our commitment and we believe this technology can play a major role in converting lower quality mixed plastic waste into virgin olefins.’

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