GPCA ’10: Middle East urged to work closer with Asia for growth

09 December 2010 09:26  [Source: ICIS news]

DUBAI (ICIS)--The Middle East should enhance its co-operation with Asia for future growth as the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) gas resources are dwindling, a senior executive at Hanwha Chemical Corp said on Thursday.

“With all of available ethane already allocated in the Gulf region, gas supply in the GCC is rapidly tightening as natural gas is widely used for power generation," said Ki-Joon Hong, president and CEO of the South Korean firm.

Hong was speaking at the 5th Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) forum being held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Furthermore, the new-found availability of shale gas in North America would help cost disadvantages in the US to taper off and provide a competitive edge for that region, Hong said.

This would add further pressure to players in the GCC to diversify their energy resources to become more competitive, he said.

The Middle Eastern petrochemical industry, with its abundant natural resources, vast capital and export driven strategy should tap into Asia as its strategy for future growth, according to Hong.

Despite having lesser natural resources, Asia could provide the Middle East with human resources to undertake large scale projects, he added.

The Middle Eastern region is currently experiencing a shortage of human resources, which would lead to outsourcing, and subsequently, high investment costs, Hong added.

Asia's track record in operational excellence as well as being a high-growth market should create “maximum value creation”, if partnerships with the Middle East are enhanced, he said.

Further collaboration between the two regions in developing solar energy, for example, could be explored, Hong said, adding natural resource was accessible in the Middle East.

"Solar power is expected to see the highest growth rate among the alternative energy resources," Hong added.

The annual GPCA forum runs on 7–9 December.

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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