Research and Innovation Key to Oil Sector’s Sustainability' for GCC Countries

Published March 14th, 2019 - 12:52 GMT
GCC countries must invest in research and innovation to ensure a steady supply of high-quality chemicals. (Shutterstock)
GCC countries must invest in research and innovation to ensure a steady supply of high-quality chemicals. (Shutterstock)

GCC countries must invest in research and innovation to ensure a steady supply of high-quality chemicals, Oil Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa has said.

According to him, global demand for chemicals is increasing driven by a rapid population increase, whereas regional chemical producers are witnessing fierce competition and challenges in the face of globalisation and digitalisation.

“To overcome these difficulties regional producers must focus on research and innovation to produce new products in line with modern international standards,” the minister added.

He further highlighted the need for ongoing support from governments in the GCC to maintain the region’s competitiveness in this dynamic and changing market.

Shaikh Mohammed was speaking yesterday at the 6th edition of GPCA Research and Innovation (R&I) Summit held under his patronage at the ART Rotana, Amwaj Islands.

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Speakers at the GPCA R&I Summit and 10th GPCA PlastiCon, held on Monday and Tuesday at the same venue, highlighted the need to establish sustainable, end-of-life solutions for plastic waste to achieve economic, environmental and social benefits, and the role of polymer producers to invest in research and innovation to develop new application grades that further improve the environmental sustainability of plastic packaging and design innovative ways to recover and re-purpose plastic waste.

Greater focus on research and technology will revolutionise the chemical industry in the GCC by opening new opportunities to generate higher value, create new markets, design new business models and develop winning products, speakers said.

Chemical companies need to create win-win solutions with rapid business impact through accelerating innovation and fostering strategic partnerships.

They must focus their digital transformation on operational excellence by optimising operations and supply chain, reducing capex and integrating pace making technology into chemical production like artificial intelligence, they added.

Digitalisation and the crude oil to chemicals technology have the potential to propel GCC chemcial players to leading positions in the global chemical industry.

However, to move towards greater value creation and profitability, the industry must continue to invest in research innovation, grow its innovation output and create higher value products, concluded speakers at the summit.

Dr Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, secretary-general of GPCA, said, “Amid changing industry dynamics and new market competitiveness, industry players must realise that the rules of the game have changed. Research and innovation are a strategic imperative to stay competitive in the global chemical industry.”

“To capitalise on this opportunity, regional producers must transform themselves and invest in developing key capabilities, technical know-how, technology venturing and partnerships to better serve the market needs.

“While advantaged feedstock and world-scale commodity production will remain important, a new paradigm in global chemical markets is creating a shift from a sole focus on volume and cost to include added value and performance in the entire value chain.

“To positions itself as a front runner in innovation led economic growth, the Arabian Gulf region must improve its collaboration ecosystems to enable better opportunities for industry, academia and governments to work together towards the national and regional economic agenda and enable the move towards knowledge-based economies,” he added.

The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) was established in 2006 to represent the downstream hydrocarbon industry in the Arabian Gulf.


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