Environmental excellence in action

Saudi Arabia’s southwest tip is one of the Kingdom’s most densely populous regions, and Aramco is playing a leading role in Jazan’s economic development, while also balancing the area’s environmental protection.

Environmental excellence in action

Saudi Arabia’s southwest tip is one of the Kingdom’s most densely populous regions, and Aramco is playing a leading role in Jazan’s economic development, while also balancing the area’s environmental protection.

Jazan City for Primary and Downstream Industries (Jazan City) is located on the striking Red Sea, 70 kilometers (km) north of the main city of Jizan, and is part of the Saudi government’s initiative for balanced development of the Jazan region.

Aramco was entrusted to construct the city’s strategic infrastructure.

The 106-km2 emerging Jazan City, with a focus on the energy and manufacturing industries as well as agriculture and fishing, is set to be a solid contributor to the Kingdom’s economy.

Stretching 200 km along the tip of Saudi’s Red Sea coast, Jazan province’s diverse landscape is a rare jewel, rich with nature and ancient culture. Azure seawaters splash onto white sand shores, and towering mountains dramatically descend into green slopes and lowlands.

Aramco invested about $1.2 billion to mitigate Jazan City’s development impacts, and protect the surrounding environment.

Jazan Area Project Management general manager Yahya A. Abu-Shal said the Project Management Team executed the Jazan giga program with special attention to environmental impact and protection.

 “The project team worked diligently from the early phase of the project with licensors and engineering companies through the construction phase to provide optimum design eliminating any environmental impact to surrounding areas,” he said.


Environmental protection 

Environmental Protection general manager Omar S. Abdulhamid says the company understands the importance of nurturing precious natural resources. “With a heritage rooted in a culture of living in harmony with Saudi’s harsh and arid climate, Aramco has long been pioneers in water conservation, energy efficiency, and protecting flora and fauna,” said Abdulhamid.

The ongoing protection outcomes for Jazan City are as inspirational as the region itself.


Jazan element of downstream strategy

To enhance the value of each and every barrel of oil it produces, Aramco is on a vibrant downstream growth strategy. Aramco’s integrated petrochemical refinery complex at Jazan City, and its associated infrastructure, is part of the company’s journey to integrate its refining and petrochemicals through a dedicated system of domestic and international wholly owned and affiliated refineries. 

Currently in pre-commissioning, the 400,000 barrels per day refinery sits at the development’s industrial heart, and strong industrial best practices to minimize environmental impacts have gone into its operational preparation. 

The company is also part of a joint venture for the development of an integrated gasification combined cycle power plant.

Jazan Refinery Complex general manager Abdullah S. Suwailem said the complex was designed with a focus on mitigating environmental impacts. "Our state-of-the-art full-conversion refinery complex, coupled with one of the world’s largest integrated gasification combined cycle power plant, is one of many innovations delivering world-class environmental protection,” said Suwailem.

As well as the refinery, Aramco developed a terminal for Jazan City, a 3.8 gigawatt power plant that will make the refinery entirely self-sufficient and provide power to support the region, a commercial seaport, a water desalination plant, roads and water and sanitary drainage systems, and connected electricity.

Jazan City is one of four integrated economic cities being built as part of the Saudi Government’s vision to create economic bases across the Kingdom, with a view to achieving a diversified economy and balanced regional development.  

Excellent environmental investment returns

Jazan City is seen as pivotal to the economic development of the Jazan region.

Since commencing in 1933, Aramco has constantly worked to minimize its environmental impact.

Aramco’s $1.2 billion mitigation and protection investment in Jazan City is an outlay to balance industry with conservation.

Decades of entrenched environmental protection within Aramco’s operations show protection and profitability can coexist.

Circulating quality air 

The circular economy turns many times at the Jazan refinery complex.

Lowering dust emissions to the atmosphere is the job of the soot ash removal unit. Significantly, the unit’s dry ash produces 7,200 tons per year of the valuable rare earth commodities — vanadium and nickel.

Instead of sending dry ash to the landfill disposal, these valuable commodities will be sold to a customer for recovery. 

Jazan Refinery Engineering Department engineer Faisal S. Alhawiti explains that using — rather than wasting — dry ash is a win-win for the environment and the company. “Reducing environmental impacts is a priority, and recovering these rare earth metals means they can be used for steel manufacturing and batteries, and the investment will generate more macro-economic value,” said Alhawiti.

First-class sulfur recovery

Meanwhile, more than 99.9% of the sulfur — the sour element in hydrocarbons — is being successfully recovered at Jazan City.

It is the first Aramco facility to be designed and equipped with this high sulfur recovery efficiency. Processing 1,938 metric tons per day of sulfur, the recovery units recover elemental sulfur from acid gas, and consist of three sections: claus, liquid sulfur degassing, and the tail gas treatment and incinerator. 

Technology was selected to ensure the units are capable of recovering more than 99.9% of the sulfur, thereby minimizing sulfur dioxide emissions. The units meet Saudi Arabia’s new in-Kingdom limits on air emissions.

Equipped for minimal flaring

As far back as the 1970s, Aramco introduced a program to significantly reducing the amount of gas the company flares.

Emphasizing the fact that flaring is a critical part of ensuring safety within the oil and gas industry, today Aramco’s daily routine flaring is less than 1%, despite the mega scale gas production capacity. 

The Jazan refinery has three segregated flare systems based on the flaring load and the nature of the fluids handled. 

Like all Aramco facilities, Jazan’s flare system will be connected to the company’s Corporate Flaring Monitoring System.

At Aramco’s headquarters, we monitor and measure all flaring events on a real-time basis, followed by establishing flaring mitigation and minimization measures.

Capturing everything 

Jazan has specialized compression packages aimed at recovering and repurposing gasses and emissions that would normally be burned during a flaring process. Consisting of two trains, Jazan’s flare gas recovery system is capable of recovering 3.5 million standard cubic feet per day.

Sound waste management 
In a circular economy, ideally there is zero landfill waste.

However, landfill is sometimes unavoidable, and to mitigate its environmental impacts, Aramco developed an approved landfill area north of Jazan City.

Proper disposal of landfill requires sound management, and the landfill area north of Jazan City is engineered, designed, and operated to handle inert and nonhazardous waste.

Regenerating nature to fight climate change

Healing nature with nature delivers spectacular solutions.

Mangrove trees are particularly amazing healers — they quickly sequester more carbon than land-based trees, stabilize coastlines, nurture marine habitats, and significantly for arid Saudi Arabia, live off salty water.

Jazan has two species of mangrove trees, which grow much larger than they do in the Eastern Province.

Unfortunately, due to uncontrolled grazing by camels, the Jazan City mangrove forest was severely decimated.

In 2017, Aramco erected a project fence which protected the mangrove forest from grazing, and Aramco environmental consultant Ronald Loughland says the natural restoration has been extraordinary. “Nature’s ability to rapidly restore is truly remarkable,” said Loughland.

The forest is back to providing an abundance of foraging and refuge habitat for a host of marine species, including migratory and resident birds, with large populations of regionally important crab-plover returning to the site.

10 mega artificial reefs 

Our planet’s coral reefs, invaluable sources of ecological and economic richness, are increasingly being degraded and lost. 

Aramco is promoting the growth of marine reef life through the deployment of permanent artificial reef structures offshore from Jazan City.

Since 2015, the company has installed more than 3,200 artificial reefs to help rebuild marine ecosystems, and support the local fisheries industry.

In Jazan City, using its own patented design, the company is developing 10 mega artificial reefs.

Designed with a vertically high central nucleus, the reefs attract pelagic fish, and has a surrounding network of connected satellite reefs allowing access for smaller organisms to move freely throughout the structure and avoid predation.

“They are one of Aramco‘s most innovative designs for environmental restoration,” said Loughland.

Meticulous water management 

In Saudi Arabia’s thirsty lands, saving precious water is a deep-rooted tradition.

Water management at the Jazan Refinery Complex is setting new benchmarks. Reusing precious drops of H2O has flowed up a notch.

Instead of just sanitary reuse, it includes industrial water reuse. To protect the Red Sea, there is zero industrial effluent wastewater discharge to the marine environment.

All wastewater will be treated and fully reused within the complex. The wastewater treatment plant manages both the Jazan refinery pre-treated industrial effluent and industrial wastewater, along with sanitary wastewater from the refinery, marine terminal, and power plant. 

Efficient energy seawater protection

Combined cycle power plants are super smart with energy efficiency.

Compared to a simple single-cycle plant, they produce up to 50% more electricity with the same amount of fuel, recovering all wasted heat. Aramco has put an integrated gasification combined cycle power plant in Jazan.

The complex plant’s meticulously designed cooling system ensured that the seawater cycled in and out is safe to return to the temperate Red Sea waters.

Huge pipes, which run 2.4 km across the sea, take the warm water to a man-made basin in cooler deeper waters, thereby achieving ultimate temperature mixing with the surrounding waters. 

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