SABIC to build world’s first renewable power chemical plant

SABIC reports that its polycarbonate facility in Cartagena, Spain, is set to become the world’s first large-scale chemical production site to be run entirely on renewable power. (Supplied)
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Updated 30 July 2020

SABIC to build world’s first renewable power chemical plant

  • Spanish facility slated to open by 2024 will feature 263,000 solar panels in bid to make industry carbon neutral

LONDON: SABIC plans to build a chemical plant in Spain fully powered by renewable energy in what is the first project of its kind anywhere in the world.

The polycarbonate facility in Cartegena is expected to be fully operational by 2024, powered by a 100MW PV solar plant.

The deal will see Iberdrola, one of the world’s biggest electricity utility companies, invest almost €70 million to install 263,000 panels, on land owned by SABIC, making it the largest industrial renewable power plant in Europe. 

The 25-year deal represents part of the Riyadh-based petrochemical company’s ambition to have 4 gigawatts (GW) of either wind or solar energy installed for its sites globally by 2025, rising to 12GW by 2030. 

Last year the company installed solar panels at its sites in India and Thailand, helping to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 200 tons.

“Partnerships of this kind are the cornerstone of our business growth model,” said Bob Maughon, EVP Sustainability, Technology & Innovation at SABIC. “In recent years, the many breakthroughs in renewable energy technology have made deployment at this kind of scale possible.”

Once the solar powered facility in Cartagena comes online, SABIC’s customers, including those in the automotive and construction sectors, will have access to
polycarbonate solutions produced with 100 percent renewable power, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

SABIC also plans to install PV technology at its global headquarters in Riyadh, while a final feasibility study is in progress with Marafiq and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu to explore a $300 million, 300 megawatt solar array project on the western coast of the Kingdom. 

Once complete, SABIC will take the electricity generated by the plant and deliver it to local chemicals manufacturing plants, the company said.

SABIC makes chemicals, plastics and agri-nutrients worldwide and employs more than 33,000 people.


Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 17 min 20 sec ago

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”

Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.