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Water intensity increased 0.5% from 2020, driven primarily by the start-up of new plants at our Gas and United affiliates as well as a seawater cooling piping failure at Yansab.

The temporary shutdown of the Teesside, UK, olefins plant throughout 2021 resulted in a year- over-year reduction of 17.5 million GJ. Similarly, the Ibn Rushd restructuring project, which saw a permanent shutdown of olefins operations, resulted in a reduction of 8.9 million GJ from 2020.

In 2021, we increased the granularity of our environmental footprint reporting with the addition of water withdrawal, water discharge, and water consumption accounting across our manufacturing sites. The following table is in accordance with GRI 303 Water & Effluents and marks our first step in advancing our water accounting principles beyond freshwater usage intensity.

Water Overview SABIC 2021
  • Financially Consolidated Million m3
  • Financially Consolidated + 3.5 affiliates† Million m3
Financially Consolidated Million m3 Financially Consolidated + 3.5 affiliates† Million m3
Freshwater – groundwater 10.6 10.6
Freshwater – surface water 11.6 11.6
Third-party water – desalinated water 53.5 69.5
Third-party water – groundwater 8.2 8.2
Third-party water – produced water 2.4 2.4
Third-party water – surface water 14.2 14.2
Total freshwater withdrawal 100.5 116.6
Freshwater discharge 51 57.7
Total freshwater consumption 49.5 58.9
Seawater withdrawal 3,679 5,467
Seawater discharge 3,621 5,384
Total seawater consumption 58.3 83.5
Total SABIC water usage 107.8 142.4

† 3.5 affiliates includes Kemya, Sharq, Yanpet and 50% SAMAC



We developed a Water Intensity Dashboard to monitor water losses for all plants. The dashboard allows us to track and measure water losses in real time, thus enabling the operations team to take corrective actions. We have also prepared a long-term action plan that aims to improve water intensity in the coming years.


Our site in Rayong, Thailand, achieved a 20% reduction in water intensity over the previous year. We achieved this by installing six water meters at the three main areas of water consumption in the manufacturing process. Through monitoring daily usage, we can alert our employees to fix water leakages, conduct effective cleaning activities, and respond promptly to abnormal spikes in usage. We also focused on optimizing production schedules to minimize cleaning and allow for better sequencing of United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grades.


We changed the water supply to the Cooling Water (CW) pit of Building K from De-ionized Water (DIW) to Ionized Water (IW). This resulted in a 904 m3 reduction in water consumption in five months (annualized 2,168 m3/year). A change in the watering method to prevent freezing in winter also resulted in a reduction of 475 m3/year.

Water Intensity

(m3/t Product Sales)

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