Saudi Aramco TotalEnergies Refinery & Petrochemicals Co. (Satorp), a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and TotalEnergies SE, has successfully produced sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from the co-processing of used cooking oil (UCO). This achievement took place at the operator's full-conversion refinery complex in Jubail, located on Saudi Arabia's eastern coast, with a daily capacity of 460,000 barrels. The breakthrough, which marks the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region's first International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC+)-certified SAF production from UCO, aligns with the company's broader commitment to sustainability.
Satorp's Jubail platform accomplished this significant milestone in August 2023 by employing co-processing techniques within the refinery's low-pressure hydrodesulfurization unit. TotalEnergies, a key player in the venture, announced on October 30 that the resulting SAF met all product-quality parameters and specifications, demonstrating its suitability for aviation use.
Francois Good, Senior Vice President of TotalEnergies' refining and petrochemicals division for Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region, highlighted the importance of this achievement, stating, “This project at Satorp is part of TotalEnergies' aim to produce 1.5 million tonnes per year (tpy) of SAF by 2030 in line with the company's ambition to get to net zero by 2050.”
This milestone not only showcases technological prowess but also positions Satorp to meet Saudi Arabia's anticipated increased demand for UCO-based SAF. Notably, UCO-based SAF reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 80% across its entire lifecycle when compared to fossil-based aviation fuels, emphasizing its role in combating climate change.
Satorp's commitment to sustainability and innovation doesn't stop at SAF production. Earlier this year, the operator achieved another breakthrough by producing ISCC+ certified circular polymers from plastic pyrolysis oil, creating a domestic value chain for advanced recycling of non-sorted plastics into circular polymers. This achievement marks a significant step towards addressing the challenge of end-of-life plastics.
In addition to these milestones, Saudi Aramco and TotalEnergies have recently awarded contracts for the construction of the proposed $11 billion Amiral grassroots petrochemical complex. This complex, to be integrated into Satorp's existing Jubail platform, will feature a mixed-feed cracker capable of producing 1.65 million tpy of ethylene and related industrial gases, along with two polyethylene units with a capacity of 500,000 tpy each. This strategic investment will enable Satorp to convert internally produced refinery offgases and naphtha into high-demand chemicals by 2027, supporting Aramco's liquids-to-chemicals strategy.
This ongoing commitment to sustainability and innovation not only maximizes synergies within an integrated refining and petrochemicals platform but also aligns with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. These efforts underscore the broader global energy transition towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future.