Processing Magazine

Gulf petrochemicals producers to outline future strategies

November 21, 2012

DUBAI — Petrochemical producers from the Gulf countries need to find ways to develop their business to its full capacity, says Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA). Opportunities to expand their business and to deliver more varied products should not be missed, he claims, just days before the annual GPCA Forum in Dubai.

The forum is a major summit of industry representatives, with more than 1,600 delegates not just from the region but from a number of countries interested in the latest industry developments. It is being held for the seventh consecutive year and will take place at the Madinat Jumeriah in Dubai between November 27 and 29.

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The odds are in favor of the Gulf petrochemical producers, as the region is gradually becoming an established global center for the industry. Last year was a very successful one for the Gulf petrochemical industry, with a total output of more than 120 million tons, a 13.5% increase on the 2010 figures, and revenues of $75.6 billion, up 29% on the $58.4 billion reported in 2010, AME Info reported this week. Dr Al-Sadoun explained that a number of major projects are set to launch over the next few years and this will allow local producers to stay firmly at the forefront of the petrochemical market.

Dr Al-Sadoun noted that one of the major aims of this year''s forum is to emphasize sustainability. The industry is not just rapidly changing, but is also extremely competitive and if businesses want to maintain their leading positions on the international market, they should embrace a more sustainable approach. He added that the Middle East is largely unaffected by the financial crisis that hit the economies of the United States and Europe, but the global decline in demand could still have a negative impact on Gulf producers'' revenues. In addition, it might also have an effect on the future expansion of the industry and, as a result, on key hydrocarbon industries, Dr Al-Sadoun said.

Focusing on "sustaining competitiveness" at the forum is essential and perfectly timed, the secretary general claimed, as it will remain a priority for the industry over the years to come. As long-term forecasts predict a global slowdown in economic growth, adopting this approach would prove critical, he pointed out. The forum will provide the industry with a chance to participate in a dialogue that can shape the future of the industry. Working closely together is crucial for the growth of the sector and for the creation of innovative strategies and new jobs, he concluded.

According to AME Info, apart from discussing the future of the petrochemical industry, producers from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi are launching a strategy for acquisitions in major markets. Abu Dhabi, for instance, has started a growth plan that aims to strengthen its position in the plastics sector. Its International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) acquired the Canadian Nova Chemicals in 2009 and owns a 64% stake in Europe''s second largest producer of polyethylene and polypropylene, Borealis.