All roads lead to the Middle East

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Like most Europeans, I have lost all interest in American news since the election. Des Moines, Wasilla, Juneau – who needs to know where they are now? If they’re not on the petrochemical world tour map, we’ve already forgotten them.

 
For in the world of petrochemicals, all roads lead to the Middle East. While Europeans are worrying about whether it looks too ostentatious to hold a conference in Monte Carlo, and one major American producer was heard saying “Unless it’s to collect payment, we can’t travel anywhere,” the Arab Gulf producers have just finished their GPCA at Dubai’s Atlantis, the newest, flashiest hotel complex on the planet, whose opening party in November was covered in full technicolour in every celebrity magazine with pictures of the Beijing-style synchronised fireworks, Robert de Niro, Charlize Theron, Michael Jordan. Click here for one of the many videos of the spectacular opening.
 
ICIS had its own team from our Singapore office in Dubai to cover the GPCA, although one of them didn’t make it because he had the great ill fortune to be in Bangkok airport just as it was being blockaded. He was stuck there from 26 November and eventually found his way back via train to Penang and then a flight to Singapore on 1 December.
 
The lure of Dubai is great for ex-ICIS reporters. Four of them have joined the Dubai goldrush, and have packed their bags to report from the glittering shopping malls in the desert. With them in mind, I read this rather acerbic article in the Times on folk who holiday in Dubai. The headline is: “Why I’d rather die than visit Dubai.”
 
On a side note, it seems that the locals are only too willing to make friends with visitors. The Blog’s own fair daughter had a summer job there last year as part of a science fair in the Mall of the Emirates. She and her student mates wore tee-shirts saying “Science Fair – Ask me anything.” Apparently the local science-loving youth were keen to do just that.
 
Click here for ICIS news coverage from Bohan Loh at the GPCA.
 

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