Mid-East chem firms must partner to go global

12 December 2007 11:41  [Source: ICIS news]

DUBAI (ICIS news)--Stakeholders in Middle East chemical companies must form global partnerships if they want to fulfill their aspirations, a senior industry official said on Wednesday.


Although sometimes viewed as a “necessary evil”, a good partnership is something to be sought out and cultivated for the long term, said Chevron Philips Chemicals' president and CEO Ray Wilcox, addressing attendees at the 2nd Gulf Petrochemical and Chemical Association (GPCA) Forum which ends on Thursday.


Wilcox drew examples from the oil and gas industry, which in the past 80 years has flourished through strategic partnerships.


For instance, in the 1930s, the largest exporting oil country was the US. But this soon changed, as through partnerships between governments, Middle East countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi discovered huge oil reserves and led to companies such as Saudi Aramco and Caltex (pre Chevron-Texaco merger) being formed, he said.


In the same vein, the 1950s saw partnerships between chemical and oil companies, he added.


The elements of these partnerships decades ago have not changed today, said Wilcox.


“Partnerships connect resources and the market… Partnerships offer risk management, provide technology [expertise], project management skills, manufacturing expertise, marketing expertise and an array of geographical contacts as we push markets further and further,” he said.


“Sharing risks makes sense of the volatility in the market,” he added.


However, companies looking to partner must take note of key elements such as valuing the diversity of thought and avoiding the traps of parochial thinking in order for the partnerships to work, he said.


Other elements include a rigorous alignment of goals, patience to partners, having a global outlook, being transparent and having equity stakes in the partnership, Wilcox said.

By: Jeanne Lim
+65 6780 4359

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