InterviewEPCA '13: SABIC to increase Europe productivity, efficiency

07 October 2013 18:42  [Source: ICIS news]

SABIC CEO Mohamed Al-Mady gives keynote speech at EPCABERLIN (ICIS)--SABIC vice chairman and CEO Mohamed Al-Mady said on Monday the Saudi Arabian petrochemical major is working to increase its productivity and efficiency in Europe.

Speaking to ICIS at the 47th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting, Al-Mady said the company wants to bring its plants more up-to-date through efficiency programmes and utilise the best available feedstock it can get.

“We are taking a very close look and evaluating every plant by plant, evaluating our supply chain, our procurement, benchmarking, our cost with the rest of the field, and there are some efficiency programmes that are under implementation … hopefully we see the results at the end of 2014,” he said.

In April, SABIC announced it will shut down assets in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, and Gelsenkirchen, Germany, as part as part of a wider restructuring programme that will see 1,050 jobs cut.

“The European petrochemical industry is challenged by factors within and outside. Within is the ageing population, regulations and decreased innovation and science output compared with China and the US.

“From the outside, it’s the shale gas threat that is coming sometime around 2016, where the US export is going to start hitting Europe, especially in the polymers market, as well as methanol and fertilizers,” he said.

He added SABIC hopes that through innovation it can improve the products offered to customers, which can give the company an edge over competitors and help it survive these challenges.

"Innovation, market leadership, they are dependent on each other."

Al Mady also said he wants Europe to not waste the opportunity of capitalising on its own shale gas resources.

“I hope that Europe can make up its mind to harness the resources of shale gas here.

“I know the UK is working very hard. They are just about ready to make a decision on investment on shale gas - that would be very helpful to the UK and investors in the UK. It would bring more investment, so hopefully, we can have more companies around us."

In regards to SABIC’s cracker and relatively new, low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant, in Wilton, the UK, Al Mady said the company is looking for ways to improve the site's financial performance.

“We are going to look for ways to improve the cracker economics through leveraging some of the best feedstocks we can find and invest in its upgrading," he said.

The CEO also stated that for Europe to be successful in competing on a global level, regulations need to be changed to help the chemicals industry progress.

“You cannot have stringent regulations and expect to attract investment,” he said.

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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