JEDDAH: The French oil giant TotalEnergies held an assembly on Dec. 19 to announce the commencement of Saudi Total Petroleum Products Co.’s solar project of installing a rooftop system on its lubricants blending plant, located at King Abdullah Economic City’s Industrial Valley.
The solar system will be implemented by a joint venture named Saudi French for Energy Efficiency and Renewables, established in 2021 by the Jeddah-headquartered Zahid Group and French energy company TotalEnergies.
SAFEER’s mission is to bring affordable and reliable solar energy solutions to commercial and industrial customers across Saudi Arabia. It also aims to be a home for the development of the careers of future generations of Saudis, a case study in partnerships between international leaders and local champions.
The assembly was attended by Catherine Corm Kammoun, consul general of France in Jeddah, Amine Ghezzar, the managing director of Saudi Total Petroleum Products Co. Ltd. in Jeddah and Ahmed Tarzi, the managing director of TotalEnergies’s refining and chemical operations in Saudi Arabia.
Arab News exclusively interviewed Ghezzar and Tarzi to discuss the solar project and its expected outcomes.
Ghezzar has been working with TotalEnergies since 2006 and said that Saudi Total Petroleum Products is a joint venture with the Zahid group and a well-known local partner.
“We have a world-class blending that meets all the international standards in terms of certifications. We are producing a larger range of high-quality lubricants for industrial and automotive oils. The purpose today is to install the solar panel and to cover around 50 percent of the annual consumption of our plant,” said Ghezzar.
In line with the renewable energy goals of Vision 2030, TotalEnergies is aiming to be a world-class player in the energy transition by becoming a multi-energy company.
Tarzi, who is also TotalEnergies’ country chair in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, said: “We are committed to supporting the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by increasing renewable power generation significantly, and we, as a private investor in the Kingdom, see very positively the ongoing evolutions of the legal framework for the solar projects, which we think will enhance quick development in the Kingdom once these evolutions are implemented.”
He added, “We have a big ambition to grow in renewable energy. It is really one of the key structures and elements of our growth in the Kingdom. So, for that, we have two vehicles, including SAFEER, which is investing in solar panels on the rooftop of the lubricant plant. We are also part of different large solar projects in the different regions in the kingdom.”
This project further reinforces the STPPs blending plant as one of the most modern facilities in the region.
Ghezzar said, “The project is completely in line with TotalEnergies’ ambition by replacing conventional electricity with renewable power. The photovoltaic system will produce around 390 megawatt-hours yearly of clean energy, equivalent to 50 percent of the plant’s annual local consumption. This will also allow us to save 280 tons of carbon dioxide every year.”
STPP’s path to net zero involves reducing the carbon footprint of its existing operations, as it has developed its sustainability roadmap involving the solarization of its lubricants blending plant in KAEC. This approach provides the market with cutting-edge lubricants produced sustainably by using renewable resources in its operations. Indeed, TotalEnergies KSA is also looking for more growth in service stations, lubricants, and the renewables area.
It is worth mentioning that the company was renamed as TotalEnergies in 2021 to support a global cause, climate change.
TotalEnergies’s Tarzi said: “For us, the movement from Total toward TotalEnergies is not only a change of name but also a change of business model. We are adapting our business model to the energy transitions and toward a low-carbon energy offer.”
So, today TotalEnergies is present in the Kingdom through different local partnerships. For the refining business, it has joined with Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical in Jubail, which announced the Amiral complex last week. It has ventured into the lubricant fabrication business through its network and fuel retail services. Additionally, it forayed into the solar business through SAFEER and ongoing large-scale solar farm projects.
In terms of new projects and global partnerships, Saudi Arabian Oil Co.’s recent collaboration with TotalEnergies will build Amiral, the giant petrochemical complex with an estimated investment of around $11 billion.
The petrochemical facility will be owned, operated, and integrated with the existing SATORP refinery located in Jubail on the eastern coast of the Kingdom.
Tarzi said that the Amiral project is one of the most significant development investments of a French company in the Kingdom.
“We have a very ambitious and sustainable plan for circular economies within the new Amiral project. So, it is not only petrochemicals, but we are working on a different collaboration with local actors to build a new circular economy for plastic recycling or used cooking oil through our assets as an example. Growing within the Kingdom’s solar and wind projects is one of our objectives as well.”