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Saudi Aramco acquires Converge polyol technology from Novomer

By Gerald Ondrey |

Saudi Aramco (Dhahran; www.saudiaramco.com) has acquired the Converge product line and associated operations and technologies from U.S.-based Novomer Inc. (Waltham, Mass.; www.novomer.com). The transaction was valued at up to $100 million.

Converge is manufactured from and contains a significant portion of carbon dioxide. The technology provides a high-performance, cost competitive and more sustainable alternative to conventional petroleum-based polyols that are used in coating, adhesive, sealant, and elastomer (CASE) applications which feature in high-value, high-demand end-products, including within the flexible and rigid foam manufacturing segments. Applications cover a broad spectrum from automobile seats to building insulation panels.

Amin H. Nasser, Saudi Aramco president & CEO says: “Some of Saudi Aramco’s most significant achievements in recent years have been in developing new international partnerships in the downstream space. There is compelling industrial logic to the Converge polyol technology deal as it enables the conversion of waste CO2 into cleaner, high-value end-products with significant performance, cost and carbon footprint improvements. The deal also enables the development of new technological growth areas in line with Saudi Vision 2030 objectives of economic diversification and job creation.”

Abdulaziz Al-Judaimi, the acting senior vice president of Downstream, Saudi Aramco says: “The acquisition of the Converge technology reflects the success of Saudi Aramco’s efforts to continuously seek the best possible opportunity for the commercialization of specific downstream technologies on a large-scale. This technology represents an excellent marriage of improved product quality and lower cost while achieving environmental benefits.” Judaimi adds: “By providing access to reliable feedstock supplies, financial stability and unrivalled R&D investment and focus, Saudi Aramco will accelerate the commercialization of these exciting new polyol materials. This will help spur growth in the production of more sustainable finished and semi-finished products in the petrochemicals conversion sector, including within the small and medium enterprise sector in Saudi Arabia.”

Compared to conventional polyols, Converge polyols have approximately one-third the carbon footprint. When incorporated into polyurethane formulations, they demonstrates superior material performance including: increased strength; increased abrasion, chemical and weather resistance; increased adhesion, hardness and tear-strength; greater load bearing capacity; and reduced heat of combustion.

Saudi Aramco will manufacture and market Converge and associated products through its subsidiary, Aramco Performance Materials LLC (APM). Saudi Aramco is planning for full-scale production facilities in Saudi Arabia to support the manufacture of specialty and intermediate chemical products to supply a wide variety of industries.

Saudi Aramco’s carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology deployment and research & development activities are part of a holistic approach to complement Saudi Arabia’s broader energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) management framework.

In July 2015, Saudi Aramco launched Saudi Arabia’s first carbon capture and storage pilot project at the ‘Uthmaniyah field and Hawiyah facilities. Currently the largest such project in the Middle East, it will inject 800,000 tons of CO2 every year. Saudi Aramco has also pioneered research on capturing CO2 from mobile sources, developing a prototype vehicle that can capture up to 25% CO2 in real driving conditions. In 2013 Saudi Aramco made a venture investment in Novomer, through its Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) subsidiary, to help accelerate the development and commercialization of the Converge technology. For more details: http://saudiaramco.com/converge

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