GPCA: Forum seeks answers to petrochemical industry challenges downstream

12 December 2011 11:26  [Source: ICB]

This year's forum in Dubai will recognize the challenges facing the petrochemical industry as it looks downstream for answers

The global petrochemical industry enjoyed a strong performance in 2010. Petrochemical producers achieved sales growth of 20-30% that year as demand recovered from the downturn and prices climbed. Earnings too bounced back substantially after the difficult period in 2009.

The strong performance in demand and pricing continued well into 2011, giving the regional companies the resources and the confidence to continue their expansion drive in regional and global markets. Over the next five years, the added production capacity throughout the Gulf region will be close to 50m tonnes/year at a capital investment of $57bn.

However, the global economic outlook creates significant uncertainty as to how long the good times can last. Developed economies look shaky with sovereign debts in the EU; and slow economic growth and high inflation are ever-present clouds in all or part of Europe and the US. The Asian economies have been immune so far but there are questions as to how long Asian demand can hold up.

Bearing this in mind, the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) has selected the theme of this year's Sixth Annual GPCA Forum, being held on 13-15 December in Dubai, to be "Moving downstream - creating added value and sustainable growth".

"Over the past two decades, the petrochemicals industry in the Arabian Gulf has enjoyed a period of significant expansion reflected in growth rates in excess of 12%/year, driven by a combination of capabilities and plentiful supplies of advantaged gas feedstocks," says Dr Abdulwahab al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA.

"After establishing the region as a global hub for commodity petrochemical production with a global market share of 16% by the end of 2010, the industry is moving toward a more diversified product portfolio producing the higher value performance and speciality chemicals. This changing pattern will bring along a set of challenges for the Gulf producers to capture further sustainable value-creating opportunities," he adds.

"These lie downstream and are linked to the development of industrial clusters across the region, particularly those being established to provide input materials for the automotive, flexible packaging, and appliances sectors. We will see throughout the Gulf region by the end of this decade projects that produce new chemical products and create more employment opportunities, whether that is in specialty chemicals or performance polymers."

GPCA's flagship event, the Annual Forum, is designed to be the right platform for dialogue and debate, providing delegates with direct access to industry leaders and decision-makers. This year's event will be focused on discussing the strategic issues pertaining to the industry's growth opportunities, to ensure that the Gulf producers are pursuing the development or enhancement of a distinct set of capabilities to realistically sustain and enhance their global competitiveness.

Prince Faisal Bin Turki, advisor to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources, will be the keynote speaker at this year's event, which is expected to attract more than 1,500 delegates, industry leaders and decision-makers. Prince Faisal is the Gas Regulator in Saudi Arabia and is distinguished for his role in advancing the development of the petrochemical industry, both upstream and downstream.

GPCA Forum

There will be no shortage of topics for discussion at this year's Annual Forum

The event program has attracted top-level speakers from leading chemical companies including Mohammed Al-Mady, GPCA chair­man and vice chairman and CEO of SABIC; Hamad Rashid Al-Mohannadi, deputy chairman, Qatar Petroleum; and Dr Fahad Al Mubarak, chairman and managing director of Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia.

Also confirmed as speakers to share their insight and expertise are Stephen Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical; Peter Cella, CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical; Peter Huntsman, president and CEO, Huntsman Corporation; Tom Crotty, group director, INEOS; and Luther Kissam, CEO of Albemarle.

To shed more light on trends and developments of strategic importance to the industry, this year the Annual Forum will include two seminars facilitated by leading global consultancy firms. The first will be facilitated by CMAI and its theme will be "Emerging economies and emerging supply - a powerful chemical formula". The second seminar will be facilitated by CRA International and its theme will be "Chemical industry feedstocks: the changing face of chemical building blocks - a strategic perspective."

By: John Baker
+44 20 8652 3214

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