APIC '09: Exxon urges green, sustainable petchem operations

15 May 2009 08:12  [Source: ICIS news]

SEOUL (ICIS news)--Petrochemical companies must focus on reducing carbon footprints on the environment and ensure operations are sustainable, an executive from US energy giant ExxonMobil said on Friday.

“This is especially important at a time when we are experiencing a barrage of product attacks from consumer groups and governments around the world, often based on poor data and science,” said Bryan W. Milton, global vice president for ExxonMobil’s basic chemicals unit, in a keynote address to the delegates of the 9th Asia Petrochemicals Industry Conference (APIC '09).

“Consumers are demanding products packaged in a way that is environmentally responsible without sacrificing strength and durability,” Milton added.

Renewable resource-based plastics, for example, have been growing rapidly but Milton said that the plastics industry will stay “inextricably tied” to the oil and gas industry and the feedstock they provide.

Milton said that the ongoing global economic crisis has been a setback in the growth of the petrochemical industry but it has not altogether dimmed its outlook in the long term.

“While we are experiencing a truly unprecedented time for our industry, we have to remember that the long-term fundamentals remain good and tremendous opportunities will continue to present themselves,” he said.

Chemical prices have witnessed sharp swings recently as demand plummeted late last year following a strong run up in the first half of 2008.

Values have remained volatile in the first four months of 2009 without a meaningful recovery in demand.

But years from now, the industry’s growth will ultimately depend on the needs of the rapidly growing global population, said Milton.

By 2030, the world population is expected to grow by about 30% and the size of the global economy could more than double, and these would drive up consumption of energy and chemicals, he said.

The two-day APIC ’09 summit will be concluded today.

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By: Bohan Loh
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