Circular carbon economy

Managing our footprint

Carbon dioxide (CO2) performs a delicate life-sustaining function on Earth but the dramatic increase in greenhouse gases since industrialization has emitted too much CO2 into our atmosphere. The circular carbon economy is an important concept toward managing the world’s excessive CO2 emissions.


What is the circular carbon economy? 

Most economies discard raw materials as waste after use.

The circular economic system uses resources again and again.

A circular carbon economy is a framework for managing and reducing emissions. It is a closed loop system involving 4Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle, and remove.

Saudi Arabia and Aramco have adopted the circular carbon economy framework as a way to reduce their carbon footprints.

The 4 Rs

Reduce
Energy efficiency and flaring minimization are top actions toward mitigating climate change, as is fossil fuel reduction through substitution with lower carbon energy sources like renewables, hydropower, nuclear and bioenergy.
Reuse
CO₂ has value and using innovative technologies to capture it means it can be reused as useful products, such as fuels, bioenergy, chemicals, building materials, food and beverages.
Recycle
CO₂ is chemically transformed into new products such as fertilizer or cement, or other forms of energy such as synthetic fuels.
Remove
Using technology to capture and store CO₂ is an important way to achieve large-scale reduction of emissions, while increasing photosynthesis by planting flora also contributes toward reduction.
A circular carbon economy, moves from a linear economic to circular economic model though reduction, reuse, recycling, and removal. 

What are we doing?

We believe the circular carbon economy is the best framework for achieving the greatest impact in reducing global emissions, while ensuring consistent economic growth.

We have undertaken a number of circular carbon economy initiatives.

We reduce CO2 emissions, enhance fuel efficiency, conserve water, and create next-generation materials that make consumer products greener. 

We remove CO2 by capturing and injecting it into underground reservoirs.

We use artificial intelligence and big data, to reduce emissions by monitoring company energy consumption and optimizing operations, improving seismic processing and analysis, optimizing crude oil recovery methods, and enhancing oil well productivity.

Our upstream carbon intensity is already among the lowest in the industry.

We continue to innovate and explore effective carbon management solutions that minimize the environmental impact of our activities.

 

Reduce: Minimizing gas flaring

Flaring is a critical part of ensuring safety in the oil and gas industry but is also a source of CO2 emissions.

No Aramco flaring event happens without justification.

As far back as the 1970s, we started the Master Gas System, and introduced our zero routine flaring program, significantly reducing the amount of gas we flare.

And we are not slowing down our efforts.

Offshore Oil/Gas Platform – Zero Flaring Recovery System – Saudi Aramco
Multiple flare gas recovery systems are installed throughout Aramco facilities.

Recycle: Conserving water

Saudi Arabia is a land where no rivers flow, rainfall is sporadic, and summer temperatures are high.

It is in our DNA to conserve water.

We use best practices and technologies to maximize the use of wastewater, and utilize alternative water resources, such as seawater, treated sewage effluent and treated reject streams. 

Plus, we use renewable energy sources for more sustainable water treatment and conveyance systems.

Using seawater to enhance oil recovery contributes to water conservation, and in 1979, operators in the control room of the Qurayyah Seawater Treatment Plant monitor the processing and delivery of seawater.
‘Uthmaniyah’s gas-oil separation plant No. 7 is on the frontline of one of the Middle East’s largest carbon enhanced oil recovery initiatives.

Remove: Use and sequester CO2  

Injecting CO2 into a reservoir assists in improving and enhancing oil recovery, and sequesters CO2 at the same time — a win-win for all.

Above the world’s largest discovered conventional onshore oil field, Ghawar, Aramco operates the Middle East’s most advanced large-scale CO2 capture and reinjection project.

After we capture CO2 at Hawiyah NGL Plant, we then pipe it 85 km to ‘Uthmaniyah, where we reinject the CO2 back into the Ghawar oil field.

It helps in unlocking the trapped oil after waterflooding and a sizable portion of the CO2 remains sequestered in the reservoir.