Environment and climate change
As Aramco has grown, this responsibility has expanded to taking real steps to protect the environment, and engaging in a range of projects and initiatives.
As a company founded and operating in a desert nation, Saudi Aramco understands the importance of managing precious natural resources and continues to promote environmental awareness within and outside the Company. It has long been a pioneer in water conservation, energy efficiency, management of emissions, waste, leaks, and spills management and the conservation of the natural environment.
The Company’s environmental commitments are underpinned by an environmental management system, aligned to ISO 14001: 2015 standards, to manage compliance and drive environmental performance through continual improvement and an environmental master plan that provides a framework for achieving the Company’s environmental objectives.
The Company’s comprehensive water conservation efforts entail supplementing water supply with non-traditional sources, implementing water-efficient practices, maximizing wastewater reuse and minimizing water losses.
The Company seeks to reduce its dependence on non-renewable groundwater by using non-traditional water sources like seawater, treated sewage effluent, and treated reject streams. The water conservation policy, issued in 2011 in compliance with the ISO 14001:2015 standard, is overseen by the HSSE Committee at the Company-level and the Risk and HSE Committee at the Board level.
Waste management is an integral part of the Company’s operations where waste is categorized into three management streams: hazardous, non-hazardous (including municipal), and inert waste. Management options are then ranked by their environmental impact with highest priority going to waste prevention, followed by reuse, recycling, recovery and, lastly, disposal. All new and selected existing projects are assessed for waste minimization opportunities, and the design of facilities and processes includes reuse, recycling, and recovery opportunities.
The Company launched a corporate enhanced waste management initiative. This initiative includes all waste management aspects related to waste generator, waste transporter, waste receiver, waste management technologies, compliance, and performance of facilities, current practices by waste generators, waste data and monitoring.
Aramco understands that no single solution is sufficient to solve the climate challenge. The Company’s approach leverages a diverse and balanced portfolio, champions technological innovation, and is collaborative in nature.
It aims to work towards solutions that will improve the delivery of affordable and reliable energy to people across the world for societies to have access to the energy they need to sustain economic growth and development.
Low carbon intensity
The proven low carbon intensity of Aramco’s upstream operations, a product of both the unique geology of the Kingdom’s reserves as well as its focus on innovation and smart reservoir management practices, positions Aramco to remain a supplier of choice throughout future energy transitions.
Aramco has strengthened its operational performance through continuous improvement of its business processes, systems and policies. The Company’s legacy and framework for operational excellence and its capacity to deliver at scale have driven efficiency and reliability across its operations. The upstream process improvements are designed to maintain the low carbon intensity of the Company’s operations and flaring reduction commitments.
Since the 1970s, the Company has acted to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of systematic flaring of associated gas by utilizing gas for power generation and petrochemicals production, which also has positive economic benefits to the Company.
The Company has grown the MGS, which supplies gas for use in the electric power facilities located in the Kingdom and in the Kingdom’s rapidly growing petrochemical sector. The development of the MGS reduced the Company’s environmental impact and GHG emissions arising from flaring, in addition to supporting national economic growth.
Methane emissions remain a focus area for Aramco, given the greater warming potential of methane, compared to carbon dioxide.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, the Company implemented a leak detection and repair program, enabling further reductions in emissions through the identification and mitigation of fugitive leaks. The program covers all operating wholly owned facilities in Saudi Arabia, and entailed detailed process analysis, tagging millions of components, field surveys, equipment upgrades, and changing processes.
Advancing local, industry and global climate initiatives
Aramco participates in collaborations that support the development of sustainable energy systems and low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) technologies. Aramco is a founding member of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) and a member of the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), the Petroleum Environmental Research Forum, and the World Bank’s “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative.
Non-industrial and renewable energy
In 2013, Saudi Aramco launched a non-industrial energy initiative called the Lead by Example program. Starting with its own facilities, the program aims to demonstrate viable energy efficiency solutions for other companies and communities to emulate and concentrates on six key focus areas: water heaters, lighting, vehicles, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), home ownership, and smart electricity meters.
The Company is also deploying renewable energy systems in office buildings and industrial facilities such as production wells and bulk plants. For example, in January 2017, the Company installed the Kingdom’s first wind turbine at the Turaif Bulk Plant. Additionally, the Company has installed a carpark solar panel system covering a total area of 100,000 square meters with a power generation capacity of 10.5 MW.
Collaborating for emissions reductions across the value chain
Aramco is actively engaging partners across its value chain to improve the efficiency of their energy use and reduce their environmental footprint. As part of this effort, the Company is pursuing advanced research and development (R&D) programs for further reducing emissions in its upstream, refining, and chemicals operations as well as end-use applications.
Aramco is actively engaged in developing cutting-edge technologies such as novel carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) solutions for both fixed and mobile sources and potentially game-changing thermal and catalytic crude-to-chemicals processes.
Energy efficiency is a key component in our strategy to make our business operations more-sustainable.
Circular Carbon Economy
A cyclical model focused on reducing, reusing, recycling, and removing carbon from the environment.