Helping SABIC reduce carbon emissions

WSP supported SABIC, one of the world’s leading petrochemical companies, in updating its carbon strategy and providing expert advice on carbon reduction measures for its production sites.

In 2011, SABIC announced a set of ambitious energy efficiency and carbon saving targets to help tackle climate change. WSP was appointed to help SABIC develop a roadmap to achieve the targets – including the corporate level target to reduce emission intensity (per tonne of product sold) by 25% by 2025.

Phase I of the project lasted eight months and included site visits to the SABIC head office and Saudi Arabia plants. Our work encompassed site visits to three of the largest petrochemical-production sites in Saudi Arabia, including the world’s largest methanol production site that produces over 3 million tonnes annually of this important base chemical (1)

World's largest methanol site (3 million tonnes per annum)
3 million 3 million
Carbon intensity reduction target (per tonne of product sold): 25% emissions reduction target by 2025 (2010 baseline)
25% 25%

Global Collaboration for Optimal Carbon Reduction

Our sustainability and climate change teams in the UK worked in partnership with colleagues in the UAE and the US, bringing together a group of 15 global experts to meet the client’s needs. Our expertise covered energy efficiency, carbon abatement technologies, carbon economics, life-cycle analysis and carbon disclosure.  

The team worked seamlessly with the client across various time zones and geographies to assess and prioritize different carbon reduction technologies for SABIC’s operations in the Middle East, Europe and the US.

Based on a review of the opportunities for energy/carbon savings at the production sites, WSP constructed a fully referenced marginal abatement curve for carbon (MACC) dashboard showing investment opportunities and associated carbon benefits for the business over the medium and long term.

Providing Sustainable Advisory

WSP’s work helped to model and rank over 30 investment opportunities, and develop informed carbon reduction targets for the global production portfolio. We modelled a number of processes which quantified the potentially significantly carbon savings that could be realised through the implementation of energy and emission reduction technologies. Other major savings from upgrading motors and drives to improving heat integration at the plants were also identified.

WSP developed further quantitative and qualitative carbon targets for the business and provided critical review and update of its Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) submission. We also supported the development of SABIC’s Scope 3 Carbon Footprint and provided a review of its internal carbon strategy document.

Feedback from the SABIC client was that they valued WSP’s in-depth technical know-how, combined with management consultancy approach and collaborative working to transfer skills to their teams. 

Setting Internal Carbon Targets 

The approach developed for evaluating energy/carbon savings and advising on climate change targets for SABIC could be applied to other chemicals sector manufacturers globally.  The MACC tool can be adapted to cover any energy or carbon-intensive process globally as the user can select energy prices and emission factors, and choose common carbon reduction technologies from a list of options, or enter bespoke abatement measure data.

What services were provided for this project?
Carbon disclosure advice
Carbon abatement technology assessment
Process energy efficiency analysis

(1): Methanol is used to produce other chemical derivatives, which in turn are used to produce thousands of products that touch our daily lives, such as building materials, foams, resins, plastics, paints, polyester and a variety of health and pharmaceutical products. 


For more information on this project, please contact:

Andrew Marsh-PatrickRobbie Epsom