APIC ’11: Asia’s petrochemical industry to grow in 2011-2012

24 May 2011 05:14  [Source: ICIS news]

Asia’s petrochemical industry to grow in 2011-2012By Tahir Ikram

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s petrochemicals segment is expected to grow steadily this year and the next because of strong regional demand, although environmental issues will pose a challenge, an industry leader said late on Monday.

“In view of the economic fundamentals, steady growth [of the petrochemical industry] is expected for 2011 and 2012, owing to strong demand from the emerging economies,” chairman of Japan Petrochemical Industry Association (JPCA), Kyohei Takahashi, told ICIS via email.

China, the world’s second biggest economy, together with India – a fast-emerging market where, industry sources say, even basic polymers are growing at double-digit percentage rates – are both considered to be the main engines of growth in Asia with high demand for petrochemicals.

Takahashi, who is also the representative director and chairman of the board at Japanese chemical company, Showa Denko K.K., was speaking ahead of the region’s biggest industry event – the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) 2011, which will be held at Fukuoka in Japan on 26-27 May.

“The most significant challenge currently facing the Asian petrochemical industry, in my view, is to secure sustainable growth with conserving energy and other natural resources as well as protecting the environment,” Takahashi said.

“Given surging energy and feedstock prices or increasing costs associated with CO2 (carbon dioxide) and other emissions, it will make a big difference in competitiveness between companies, with or without solutions to these challenges,” he added.

Environmental issues and carbon footprints were key concerns at APIC 2010, which was held at Mumbai in India.

Takahashi said the region’s petrochemical industry contributed significantly to improving the quality of life by providing more convenient, comfortable and hygienic products and solutions.

“However, it is faced with challenges like energy conservation and environmental protection. It is very important that the members of APIC work in unity, not only to respond to growing demand in the region, but also to tackle these challenges,” he added.

About 1,300 people have confirmed their attendance for APIC 2011, almost equal to the attendance at APIC 2010.

Takahashi said he thought the earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on 11 March did not “influence” the attendance for APIC 2011.

Some 28,000 people are dead or missing following the two natural disasters that hit Japan on 11 March. However, the worst outcome of the disasters has been the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, whose severity is considered to be equal in scale to Russia’s Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

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By: Tahir Ikram
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