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Creating advanced materials

Producing nonmetallic solutions that meet future energy needs in a more sustainable way.

Producing nonmetallic solutions is part of Aramco’s efforts to leverage our extensive hydrocarbon resources, and technological capabilities, to deliver solutions that meet future energy needs in a more sustainable way.

Already a key producer of nonmetallic solutions for the oil and gas industry, we are now seeking to deliver similar solutions to the automotive, construction, packaging, and renewable energy sectors. These solutions are designed to reduce the corrosion, weight, and cost of metals, and include flowlines, downhole production tubing, vessels, pumps, and cooling towers manufactured from nonmetallic materials such as plastic, carbon fiber, and glass fiber.

Examples of these nonmetallic applications include the following:


The automotive industry is already a large consumer of nonmetallic product like carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Carbon fiber based materials are lighter than steel, which means less fuel consumption, better vehicle performance, and lower emissions.

We are exploring how to reduce the manufacturing costs of carbon fiber for mass production by at least 50%, while developing and promoting carbon fiber and polymer-based technologies in applications such as hydrogen storage tanks and electric vehicle battery enclosures.


The recyclability of nonmetallic solutions make them well-suited to the packaging industry, which depends on materials like wood pallets and plastic pallets.

As a first step, we are planning to replace our future demand of wood pallets with plastic alternatives. We are also exploring deployment of other nonmetallic applications for packaging; working to develop eco-friendly polymeric materials with improved recyclability and reduced degradability, and to develop lighter, more cost-effective plastic pallet applications.

Oil and gas

Nonmetallic applications in the oil and gas sector include onshore and offshore piping, tanks, vessels, cooling towers, valves, pumps, and secondary offshore structures.

Our growing deployment of nonmetallic materials includes 2,400 km in onshore applications and in ~80 conventional gas wells.

We are also addressing technical challenges around deploying composite pipe technologies, founding the Nonmetallic Innovation Center (NIC) to provide expanded solutions for onshore and downhole applications. At the same time, we are leading a global effort towards the development of international qualifications, methodologies, and guidelines relating to nonmetallic applications in oil and gas — the uptake of which will reduce material life-cycle cost and carbon emissions across the sector.

Renewable energy

We have initiated research and development projects to develop polymer and hybrid polymer materials to replace glass in solar photovoltaic (PV) panels — a valuable potential application for nonmetallic materials.

In doing so, we have also aligned with a solar PV panel manufacturer to adopt and commercialize future solutions, and are working with the National Renewable Energy Program in Saudi Arabia to localize PV panels and promote the use of polymer-based PV panels in Saudi mega-projects.

Building and construction

The construction sector has a wide range of potential opportunities for nonmetallic materials, including composite rebar, polymer concrete, structural components, flooring, building accessories, and composite claddings.

Our own application of nonmetallics in construction is not new; we have used nonmetallic pipes in most of our oil and gas facilities for over two decades, and it is standard for most utility applications in our plants. 

Our mass-deployment of reinforced thermoplastic pipe (RTP) at our Khurais mega-project in 2015 brought our use of the material to a new level, however. RTP ensures there is no need for welding, and because the pipes can be spooled, laying them is easier than traditional options. As a result, the Khurais RTP flowline tie-in and construction timeframe was reduced from 70 days to less than two. RTP is a potential game-changer in the oil and gas industry, being longer-lasting, more cost-efficient, faster to install, and lighter in weight; all this has made for a less energy-intensive installation process and a reduced carbon footprint.

Elsewhere, in 2018, we used fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) rebar in a 21 km storm water drainage channel in the Jazan Economic City project, considered to be the world’s largest project utilizing FRP.

Strategic partnerships

Aramco also collaborates with local and international suppliers, and research institutes globally to accelerate nonmetallic development and deployment outside the oil and gas sectors. For example, as part of the NIC partnership, we have signed agreements with pipe manufacturers, such as Future Pipe Industries and Soluforce, to develop research into Reinforced Thermoplastic Pipe (RTP) and Reinforced Thermosetting Resin Pipe (RTRP) applications. We have also initiated a joint venture with Baker Hughes to manufacture nonmetallic materials for use in the energy industry.

This includes working with CIMNE, University of Michigan, FARAPAC and RISE in building and construction; with MateriaNova, Tasnee, KAUST, DPI (ESPCI Paris, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)) in packaging; with the Fraunhofer Society in renewable energy; and with Aachen GmbH, Lightweight Engineering Solutions (AZL) Membership, IBM, 4M, and RPDC in the automotive sector.

We directly support in-Kingdom growth through our localization program, IKTVA. National Oilwell Varco has built the first RTP manufacturing facility in the Kingdom. This has the potential to serve as a hub for the GCC and MENA regions, exporting nonmetallics with a “Made in Saudi Arabia” label.

Nonmetallic Innovation Centre

Capitalizing on the growth opportunities in the oil and gas sector, the Nonmetallic Innovation Center (NIC) is a partnership between Aramco, The Welding Institute (TWI), and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

This partnership is focused on expanding the development and use of nonmetallic pipes in the oil and gas industry. NIC is an integrated research, technology and manufacturing hub bringing together prominent academic institutions, research and technology organizations, composite manufacturers, and leading oil and gas companies including Soluforce, Arkema, DNV-GL, The University of Cambridge, and The University of Manchester.

NEx: A Center of Excellence for Nonmetallic Building Materials

With the American Concrete Institute (ACI), we recently announced the launch of NEx: A Center of Excellence for Nonmetallic Building Materials to develop and promote the use of nonmetallic materials in the building and construction sector, leveraging ACI’s role as a world-leading authority and resource for the development, dissemination and adoption of consensus-based standards for concrete design, construction, and materials. 

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