Petchem Business Unit Director, MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Company Plc.
Exclusively for K-MAG
Interview with Bence Körmendi, Petchem Business Unit Director, MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Company Plc.
The MOL Group is one of Hungary's leading mineral oil companies and very active in the field of circular economy. For the Hungarian company, a circular economy means not only the recycling of plastic, but also the shortest possible transport routes for the recyclates and an optimised product design that facilitates the recycling of product packaging.
MOL is working towards an ambitious goal: By 2050, the company aims to become a net zero CO2 emitter. Bence Körmedi explains MOL's strategy for achieving this goal and what issues would need to be addressed first in order to achieve an international circular economy.
What do you think are the three most important issues in the Hungarian plastics industry at the moment? Are there any special aspects in comparison to other countries?
Bence Körmendi: 2021 was an extraordinary year for the entire European plastics industry, not only for Hungarian market players. During H1, polyolefin prices performed such a steep increase that has never been seen before. Most of the converters could not push through this price increase of raw materials to their customers, therefore some converters suffered losses. As inflation has also started to boost during H2 2021 – especially in Hungary – now converters have the momentum to enforce these effects towards their customers and increase prices for 2022.
Not just a recent issue but a general problem in the industry that the limited availability of good quality plastic waste and therefore good quality recycled plastics hinders the use of recyclates especially in Hungary. Western European situation is slightly better as the recycling rate of plastics is higher, because better sorting and collection provides higher quality too.
Last, but not least the missing unified quality standards for recycled plastics and also for plastics waste to ensure confident and sufficient use of them also hinders the steps forward to a circular economy. This is not only a Hungarian issue but a general problem in Europe. Therefore, the entire industry expects prompt and accurate regulatory support in this topic with a deeper involvement of the industry players.
MOL Group is very active in the field of Circular Economy. Where do you currently see the biggest obstacles to a globally functioning Circular Economy? What are the most important issues that need to be tackled first for an international seamless Circular Economy?
Körmendi: One of the basic pillars of our 2030+ Strategy is the integration of circular activities into the operation of the whole Group. We have allocated significant resources to the selection and deployment of appropriate technologies to use waste- and bio-based material streams in our production. We have several projects running under the umbrella of circularity, like solvent-based and mechanical recycling, or carbon capture and storage projects that will significantly reduce MOL Group's carbon footprint.
In general, a circular economy should function rather at a local and regional level. Transporting waste for long distances is not energy efficient and does not serve the low-carbon goals. So, the more regional the circular economy is the better. A seamless circular economy needs to go hand-in-hand with product design, so product packaging should be easily recyclable.
In addition, we need technologies that make waste utilization more efficient than it is now. As we believe that waste management is a crucial part of the circular economy, MOL participates in the tender for the Hungarian waste concession and our aim is to make waste management more efficient.
Can you briefly outline what the "Shape Tomorrow" strategy 2030+ of the MOL Group entails?
Körmendi: Our vision is to be a key player in the low carbon circular economy in Central and Eastern Europe. A highly efficient company, providing sustainable materials for the economy, low carbon fuels for mobility and convenient products and services for the people on the move.
Our updated strategy, "MOL GROUP 2030+ SHAPE TOMORROW" focuses on CO2 reduction, efficiency and circular economy. MOL speeds up the transformation in order to become a net-zero CO2 emitter by 2050 and by 2030, half of our CAPEX will be spent on sustainable projects, while 100 percent of spending will be green by 2050.
We will spend one bilion USD in the next five years on new circular economy and green projects. MOL Group aims to convert 1.8 to 2 milion tons of fuels to more valuable petrochemical feedstock by 2030, through two investment cycles using highly efficient technologies and targeted start-up in 2027 and 2030, respectively. Our integrated business model from crude oil production till petrochemicals provides stable long-term profitability and allows us to move into new directions. MOL Group has the capacity, the will and the expertise to shape a sustainable future and to grab the opportunity of the green energy transition. MOL will invest significantly in new, low-carbon businesses to become a key player in CEE in the circular economy by stepping into waste integration and utilization, carbon capture, utilization and storage, advanced biofuel production and hydrogen-related opportunities.
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