ME region poised to play stronger role in global petrochemical market, says Al-Mady

Published December 7th, 2009 - 10:21 GMT

The Middle East has become the largest recipient of project finance in the world, and a considerable portion of this finance went into investments in petrochemicals.  With a combined production capacity of about 94 million tons, the Gulf region alone is producing about 11 per cent of the world’s petrochemicals.  With new start-ups and investments, the region is poised to play an increasingly important role in the global petrochemical market.

This is the international context in which the Fourth Annual Forum of Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) is taking place in Dubai December 8-10, Mohamed H. Al-Mady, Chairman of GPCA and Vice Chairman and CEO of Saudi Basic Industries Corpo-ration (SABIC), said at a press conference in Dubai today. Noting that the recession had strengthened the Middle East’s significance as a petrochemical manufacturing hub, Al-Mady said the Forum will offer interesting insights and perspectives, with a focus on how the re-gional players are integrating sustainability into their growth agenda.

The press conference was addressed by Al-Mady, Hamad Al-Terkait, Vice Chairman of GPCA and CEO of EQUATE, Kuwait, and Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General of GPCA.  The Forum, co-organized by leading global industry publication Chemical Week, is being held this year at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City on the historic Dubai Creek.

Al-Mady said the Association now has 141 members from 20 countries.  “I want to empha-size that GPCA will play an increasingly important role in supporting the industry and in tackling the challenges faced by the industry at the regional and international levels.  The As-sociation now has five committees dedicated to tackling specific industry issues and chal-lenges,” he said referring to GPCA’s committees on Advocacy, Plastics, Supply Chain, Hu-man Resources and Safety Health and Environment. 

“The Association is committed to strengthening the reputation of the petrochemical and chemical industry in the region.  At the Forum this year and in the following months, you will hear a lot more from GPCA about initiatives geared to this objective,” he added.

Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources H.E. Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi, who is also the Chairman of Saudi Aramco, will deliver the opening keynote address at the Forum on Wednesday.  On the second day of the Forum, Central Bank of Bahrain Governor H.E. Rasheed M. Al-Maraj will deliver the opening address on “Financing Opportunities and Risks for Mideast Petrochemical and energy Projects in a Global Crisis”. 

The Forum will feature nine business leaders at 11 major sessions that will focus on key in-dustry topics such as The impact of the economic crisis on the Middle East, Driving growth in the Middle East chemical industry with competitively priced feedstock, Succeeding during a downturn, Cost cutting as a way to create value in an economic crisis, How to build a viable Middle East position to sustain growth, Looking beyond the downturn and Building a global presence from the Middle East. 

These topics will be tackled by industry leaders and analysts including Stephen Pryor, Presi-dent, ExxonMobil Chemical; Klaus Engel, Chairman, Evonik Industries; Brad Bourland, Chief Economist and Managing Director, Proprietary Investment, Jadwa Investments; Greg Garland, President and CEO, Chevron Phillips Chemical; Paul A. Laudicina, Chairman and Managing Di-rector, A.T. Kearney; and Mark Garrett, CEO, Borealis.

The Forum features two breakout sessions, one focusing on Human Resources and the other on Sustainability.  The highlight of the HR session is an address by Dr. Vijay Govindarajan, one of the world’s leading experts on strategy and innovation and author of international best seller Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators.  In line with the theme of this year’s Forum “Break-ing through the crisis to pursue sustainable growth”,   Dr. Govindarajan’s special session on Wednesday afternoon will discuss “Leadership in an Era of Constant Change”. 

“Pursuing Sustainability in the Chemical Industry”, the breakout session on Thursday afternoon, will focus on the sustainability initiatives taken by the petrochemical and chemical industry as part of its long-term growth strategy. The four papers presented at the session will focus on three most important industry concerns today:  the Responsible Care initiative, the role of plastics in driving sustainability, and carbon management. 

GPCA is giving great importance to the segment on plastics. “The role of plastics in driving sus-tainability” will be presented by Laurence Jones, Vice President, Corporate Support, Borouge, who will present the findings of a consumer survey commissioned by GPCA on plastics and ad-dress the need for recycling and waste management measures in the region.  At a time of increas-ing anti-plastic sentiment in the region, GPCA wants to highlight the positive role played by plas-tics in the modern world.


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