Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge), a joint venture between ADNOC and Austria based Borealis, is at the forefront in providing the most advanced and value creating plastic solutions for various key industries. The company’s total production capacity of polyolefins (polyethylene and polypropylene) is 4.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).
As a leading provider of innovative plastics solutions, Borouge continues to increase its polyolefin capacity and use unique advanced technologies to contribute to the growth aspiration of its shareholders in developing downstream business and respond to the changing market environment.
Ahmed Omar Abdulla is the CEO of Borouge since May 2016. Abdulla has spent his entire career with the ADNOC Group companies and has extensive experience in the downstream industry. Under his leadership, the company, which celebrated its 20th anniversary of success last year, is utilising innovation and technology to support Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification efforts by developing innovative products, which add significant value to businesses as well as to society.
Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Awards
Borouge’s dedication to excellence and outstanding performance were recognised as it recently received the Gold category of the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Awards (SKEA) during a ceremony held at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
“It is a great honour to receive this award from His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court. This award clearly embodies the hard work, dedication and remarkable performance of every employee at Borouge,” says Abdulla.
“Having proudly received this prestigious Award twice under the Gold category strengthens our leading position as a major producer of petrochemicals and a key contributor to the UAE’s economic development.”
The granting of the gold category of SKEA to Borouge comes as a result of long hours spent by a team of assessors from the Award’s higher committee of industry experts, who evaluated the company’s pursuit of excellence in terms of planning, on-site engagement and reporting.
The level of assessment and expertise amongst the assessors makes it even more rewarding for Borouge as the feedback the company received in 2016 has been invaluable to drive their improvements and contribute to improve the company’s score.
Performance, People, Profitability and Efficiency
Focused on Borouge’s four pillars of Performance, People, Profitability and Efficiency to ensure the company maintains its competitive edge, it has launched several engaging initiatives that improve performance and serve as a catalyst for excellence throughout the organisation.
“Borouge firmly believes that our focus on excellence and our people are the tickets to growth for the future. The Borouge 2030 Strategy serves as the core guidance on strategic development for the company, with three main themes – Excellence, Identity and Growth,” Abdulla comments.
“We built on the feedback report we received upon receiving our first Gold win of SKEA in 2016 to improve our performance in all areas. The enablers which we worked on in the past two years include leadership, people, strategy, partnership and resources, processes, products and services,” explains Abdulla.
“Driven by the goals of our Borouge 2030 Strategy, we improved the engagement and transparency of our leadership, enhanced the professional skills of our people through providing them with advanced specified trainings, reinforced our work strategy to cope with our expansion projects, expanded the scope of our partnerships with more local and regional government and non-government entities, developed our work processes, and increased our product portfolio and services.”
“The SKEA judges have recognised the important progress we have been taking and the developments we have achieved during the past two years after we were awarded the Gold category of SKEA in 2016. Since then, we have continued to improve and grow, and it is a tribute to us all that we have maintained such a high standard,” Abdulla observes.
The assessment process of SKEA over the company’s entry started in December 2017 when executive team of Borouge approved the challenge to register for the SKEA Award in its 17th Cycle (2018-2019).
Following the extensive feedback provided by 2016’s SKEA Gold award, with a roadmap to success, the management decided to try and improve on 2016’s success. In November 2018, Borouge’s entry was finalised and submitted.
In January 2019, the comprehensive assessment of Borouge’s entry began with three days of intense assessment, and five assessors visiting the Borouge Headquarters in Abu Dhabi, Ruwais, and the Borouge Innovation Centre.
The SKEA was launched by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry in 1999 as a tool to drive continuous improvements in organisations across the region, aiming to enhance the competitiveness of the business sector in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Challenges and opportunities
Asked about the key challenges and opportunities in front of Borouge as a result of winning the second SKEA Gold Award, Abdulla remarks: “Reaching a top position in anything is not difficult when you work hard and commit yourself to achieve your goals, but when you are on the top, you need to work harder not only to maintain this high position but also to aim for higher ranks, and here comes more responsibilities and challenges.”
“We have done excellent but there are always more opportunities to grasp. SKEA is not just about a prestigious award; it is an efficient golden opportunity through which Borouge is provided with a comprehensive report that evaluates its performance and encourages it to continue on its journey towards excellence.”
“For us, SKEA Awards are a vital benchmark on our journey to excellence, and the comprehensive report we receive from SKEA assessors provides us with a clear picture of where we need to make further improvements,” opines Abdulla.
“Driven by our relentless pursuit of excellence and through constant collaboration and dedication across the whole organisation, we achieved what we set out to deliver through our Borouge 2030 Strategy.”
The strength of partnerships
As the company’s partners, ADNOC and Borealis contribute to develop Borouge, being their own joint venture, as well as developing the petrochemicals production in Ruwais, especially after Borouge has awarded three major contracts for the Borouge 4 complex to include the world’s largest mixed feed cracker.
“Borouge is a key player in ADNOC Downstream Strategy which aims to transform Ruwais into the world’s largest integrated refining and petrochemicals complex.”
“We benefit from the strong partnership between our shareholders - ADNOC and Borealis. From ADNOC we get the feedstock necessary for our production, and through Borealis we benefit from using their proprietary technologies and know-how to develop our innovative plastics solutions that create value to various industries as well as to society,” Abdulla reveals.
“In terms of innovation, Borouge Innovation Centre works closely with the European innovation centres of Borealis through exchanging knowledge and professional expertise. Borouge also sets a partnership model with the value chain through collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and others to support our advocacy of plastics circular economy,” points out Abdulla.
“Innovation is our key to success, and we are in execution of Borouge Innovation Strategy 2030, with millions of dollars of investment to strengthen our innovation capabilities to focus on products that can differentiate at scale, to ensure our leading position as a provider of creative plastics solutions.”
As a member of a coalition (Project Circle) formed of the UAE government, NGOs, and local and global companies, Borouge has signed a pledge with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to develop a circular economy model to combat the issue of plastic and packaging waste pollution by improving collection and recycling practices in the country.
“We focus on our culture of innovation by enhancing our capability to produce more environmentally friendly products that are lighter and more durable that contribute to reducing the cost of transportation and packaging,” Abdulla asserts.
“Our excellence in business does not only rely on the expansion projects we carry out but also on enhancing our efforts in the environmental stewardship of our products through promoting plastics circular economy
and partnering in Project STOP. By continuing to lead the plastics industry in very responsible and innovative ways, Borouge has consistently raised the bar of its stakeholders and will continue to do so,” states Abdulla.
Project STOP is an initiative that was launched in 2017 by Borealis and Systemiq where Borouge has partnered to design, implement and scale circular economy solutions to marine plastic pollution, focused on countries with high leakage of plastics into oceans. With its aim to address the challenge of marine litter, improve resource efficiency and public health in South East Asia, Project STOP chose Muncar city in Indonesia to be the first city where the project is being implemented. In late 2018, Project STOP committed to add two more cities aiming to prevent 100,000 tonnes of waste from entering the oceans by 2025.
Borouge 4: A growth driver of Borouge 2030 strategy
In February 2019, Borouge awarded three contracts for its fourth expansion project of Ruwais Petrochemicals Complex, which includes the world’s largest mixed feed cracker – a FEED (front-end engineering design) contract was awarded to Maire Tecnimont, a licence technology contract was awarded to TechnipFMC, and a PMC (project management contract) contract was awarded to WorleyParsons.
The new mixed feed cracker will produce 1.8mtpa of ethylene, which will be ready by 2025. The overall capacity will reach 3.3mtpa of olefins and aromatics. The plant will use mixed feedstocks (ethane, butane and naphtha) coming from ADNOC’s refinery and gas processing facilities.
Borouge’s fourth mixed feed cracker, which will be the core of Borouge 4 complex which will contribute to the Abu Dhabi 2030 Strategy. The fourth cracker is expected to contribute $6bn to Abu Dhabi’s GDP (gross domestic product) annually as direct benefit from product revenue.
With the fourth cracker, Borouge will be further contributing to promoting the ‘Made in UAE’ and supporting Abu Dhabi to become a centre of global petrochemicals innovation. Once the fourth cracker of Borouge comes on stream, the company’s total sales volume will be increased, and this will impact positively on the activities of Khalifa Port as one of the main UAE gateways to export its products to customers around the world.
The fourth cracker will create thousands of job opportunities during construction phases and once it is commissioned, it will contribute to enhancing Borouge’s in-country value proposition with expectation to generate over $3.5bn of local procurement and construction activities during its EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) phase.
Having the new plants on stream will enable Borouge to meet the increasing demand for polyolefins in its key markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa by expanding the company’s product portfolio and deliver leading-edge products of differentiated, innovative and sustainable plastics solutions that meet its customers’ growth ambitions. The new cracker will bring value to new value chains with butadiene, benzene and MTBE.
PP5: A significant enabler of growth
In September 2018, Borouge signed the EPC contract for its fifth polypropylene unit (PP5) with Maire Tecnimont. The capacity of PP5 will be 480,000tpa (tonnes per annum), to be built within Borouge 3 plant in Ruwais. With PP5, Borouge’s polypropylene capacity will increase by 25% to 2.24mtpa and the total polymer capacity will increase by 11% from 4.5mtpa to 5mtpa by Q3-2021.
The construction works of the PP5 unit have already started in late 2018, opening the door to a new era of growth and development at Borouge and contributing to the delivery of its shareholders’ ambitious strategy.
PP5 unit is an important step towards meeting the increasing requirements of customers across the world, especially in the field of household packaging, including food containers and films which are light, stiff and transparent and can be used, re-used and recycled.
Enabled by Borealis’ proprietary Borstar technology, Borouge’s PP5 unit will become the tenth Borstar unit in Ruwais. It will also give more opportunities for potential customers in the UAE to produce plastics based on Borouge’s ‘Made in the UAE’ polypropylene solutions.
In-country value creation
Borouge is leading the way in supporting Abu Dhabi to become a centre of global petrochemicals
innovation, promoting the ‘Made in UAE’ and addressing market requirements across the value chain.
Borouge collaborates through its innovation centre in Abu Dhabi with local and international educational institutions such as Khalifa University to attract youth talent into the polymer industry and provide them with training and development programmes on polymer science.
Aiming to reinforce its in-country value (ICV) approach and generating new opportunities of businesses and revenues for local companies in the UAE, Borouge partnered with Ducab for a project to be carried out by Samsung Engineering for ADNOC Refining through an agreement of cooperation that was signed during their participation at ADIPEC 2018.
“Thanks to the high quality, uniqueness and value creation of our locally-made plastics solutions, mainly for infrastructure and/ or energy applications, they were used in various famous local, regional and global landmarks such as Burj Khalifa, Etihad Towers, Ferrari World, Makkah Mosque Expansion, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Shanghai Disney Land in China, and more,” declares Abdulla.
Role in the global polymer landscape in 2025
Asked about the position of Borouge in the global polymer landscape in 2025, Abdulla discloses: “Borouge will be one of the leaders in polyolefins business. The company is well positioned to be the leader in providing creative plastics solutions in the highly competitive global polymer landscape.”
“In Borouge, we take pride of having the world’s largest integrated polyolefins complex at Ruwais site. With an annual production of 4.5 million tonnes of polyolefins currently, the next phase of growth would be the start-up of Borouge 4, which will more than double the current capacity by 2025.”
The additional capacity will allow Borouge to ensure long-term security of supply and expand our product portfolio to serve the needs of businesses and communities in the UAE and around the world.
“We are looking into new applications that add value to the society. For example, in agriculture, we focus on products that can deliver enhanced farming whereby crop yields are maximised through the efficient use of light, water and fertilisers,” mentions Abdulla.
“The world today faces huge global challenges around carbon emissions, food, drinking water and sanitation. Borouge’s role is to provide specialised solutions that play a positive role in addressing these challenges in partnership with the value chain and business leaders,” Abdulla concludes.
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