12 December 2011 04:50 [Source: ICIS news]
By Ong Sheau Ling
Expansion is focused on the engineering plastics and performance chemicals, said Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general of the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA), in an interview with ICIS.
ICIS is a co-organiser of the 6th GPCA Forum in
More than 1,500 delegates from around the world are registered for this year’s biggest petrochemical event in the region.
"The main drivers behind the need to move downstream are to add value to the producer, to address the potential growth and to create job opportunities regionally, to take advantage of the working age demographics," Al-Sadoun said.
With majority of GCC’s production derived from feedstock gas - a natural resource with strong availability and is quite cheap in the Middle East - the most developed value chains in the region are ethylene and methanol.
Using naphtha as feedstock also meant a move for GCC producers to integrate petrochemical operations with the refineries and will translate to increased output of aromatics products such as benzene, toluene and xylenes.
"This will enable the upstream players to diversify their product portfolios," Al-Sadoun said.
The GCC’s demographics also indicate a strong availability of work force that can be tapped to realise the expansion and integration of the region’s crude oil and petrochemical producers, he said.
GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
But this movement towards producing more value-added products is also going on in other regions, like
"This will trigger a race, and each region has its different strengths and weaknesses. The most successful region will win, disregarding any actions done by the various governments to opt for protectionism," Al-Sadoun said.
As long as suppliers can support and service their customers, they should not be penalised such as in the form of tariffs, he said.
($1 = €0.75)
Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections
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