Main Themes

Despite the importance of the global petrochemical industry and the massive investments, a comprehensive and detailed analysis of its future perspective has received scant attention. A wide-ranging strategic vision for the decades to come has not been framed coherently. Moreover, the challenges and risks that will face the industry have not been clearly outlined nor analyzed, with plans to tackle it remain sketchy at best.

The 11th Industrialists’ Conference aims to assess exactly these points by focusing on a set of strategic issues:

Role of the GCC in the Global Petrochemical Sector. The world petrochemical industry has changed drastically over the last decade. The US, Europe and Japan used to dominate the world markets, however additional capacities in Canada, Saudi Arabia and south East Asia accounts for over half of the worlds' production. In this context the GCC is well placed to double its share of the global market in the next decade mainly in Ethylene and Propylene.

Technological Advances and Market Trends. Technological advances upstream and downstream, changes in transport efficiency and environmental friendly fuels will drive critical changes. Middle East enterprises often seem to be content to simply purchase off- the-shelf technology from abroad. However those who resort to buy their technology will forever be 'followers' and never attain a place at the cutting edge. Some notable efforts are underway in the gas-to-liquid gas-to-olefin, methanol-to-olefin.

Financing/Investing in Gulf Petrochemical Industry. The financial sector in the GCC is still stuck in traditional commercial lending practices. It would be desirable to increase the sophistication of the financial institutions through a bold deregulation program. Furthermore, project evaluation, risk management, corporate governance and accounting practices need to be upgraded to international standards if the massive capitals required in the petrochemical sector will be efficiently channeled to successful enterprises..

Challenges Faced by the GCC Petrochemical Industry. The automotive sector is pondering its choices for the next generation of technologies gasoline or diesel hybrids, plug-in hybrids, flex fuel and fuel cells. More generally decisions made by consumers and governments in Europe, the United States, Japan, and China over environmental standards will set the stage for the petrochemical industry in the first half of this century.

Paving the Way Forward . The interaction of global warming, energy security, and trade policies is likely to foster new forms of integration and unexpected business opportunities. Furthermore, governments are turning to international oil companies for help in economic development, while domestic state owned oil companies are moving outside the traditional areas of exploration and production. In this regard it is noteworthy the expansion of GCC companies worldwide through acquisitions of European and North American companies.

The invited speakers and attendants will come from diverse backgrounds and represent the whole spectrum of stakeholders: top management of leading petrochemical companies both from the Gulf and other parts of the world; senior ministers from the GCC countries; scientists and international experts in technical matters; businessmen, financiers and investors.


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