Attendees heard some very high quality speeches during our annual European Conference in Amsterdam this week. Organised as usual with ICIS, they covered a wide range of critical topics:
Patrick Thomas, CEO of Bayer MaterialScience, delivered an inspiring keynote address on Day 1, focusing on the contribution that the petchems industry can make to solve critical issues such as improving energy efficiency.
Alex Farina, GM strategy for Shell Chemicals, picked up this theme in his Day 2 keynote. He highlighted the contribution that plastics can make to food preservation. An unwrapped cucumber rots after 3 days, but one that is shrink-wrapped stays fresh for 12 days.
Martin Pugh, EMEA president for newly formed Styrolution discussed the need for the styrenics industry to focus on being low-cost. Bob Young, downstream consulting head for Wood Mackenzie worried about the current 'insane' state of European refining.
Fernando Calvo and David Gonzalez of Novapet produced a lively presentation on the opportunity for tailor-made products in the PET industry. Paul Vrijhof of Vopak highlighted the increasingly important role of service providers in the storage industry. And Stewart Hardy of Nexant provided detailed insight into market developments.
The blog's colleague, John Richardson, looked at China and India and questioned the robustness of some of the claims made for their future growth. Whilst the blog looked at the rise of market volatility, and linked this to the changes taking place in the global economy as we enter the New Normal.