01/27/2015

www.gupta-verlag.de/thermoplastic-elastomers

MIDDLE EAST: GPCA Plasticon delegates encouraged to find new strategies to overcome worldwide feedstock challenges

"Major regional developments in the areas of automotive, aviation, renewable energy and other industries provide opportunities and demand for the local plastics industry,” said Abdulaziz Alhajri, chief executive of Borouge. Sadara Chief Executive Ziad S. Al-Labban added: "We are not here to forecast the prices of oil because we can't even predict what the price will be next week. What we can do is to chart trends in the polymer industry to figure out where the market is headed.” In Asia, where 150-million tons of capacity has been added since 1990, petrochemical demand has far outstripped the level of supply. "So this [region] has the potential to be a major market for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) polymers," Al-Labban predicted. The middle class has been a major consumer of polymers, and with the global population expected to include over 60% of people within this demographic by 2030, commodity plastics demand will grow, he said. The GCC must leverage its core strength of being strategically located in close proximity to areas that will experience population growth spurts. Companies in the GCC must also use technology to withstand market uncertainties, he urged. "I recommend creating value by using technology to go into specialty products because the future in commodities is limited.” Abdullah bin Saleh Al Suwailem, chief executive of Petro Rabigh, agreed. "The GCC petrochemical industry is a gas-based industry with limited liquid feedstock capabilities. Refocusing our commodities base towards a more specialty chemicals portfolio will open up growth and investment opportunities.” The GCC's competitive advantages have included the lowest polymer price globally, low utility and labor costs and strategic location, said Mosaed Al-Ohali, Saudi Basic Industries Corp.'s executive vice president for polymers. "However, this is changing. If you look at polymer trade with the European Union between 2013 and 2014, there is a $200 per ton loss in competitiveness due to rising import tariffs, increasing labor costs and a growth in inflation.” Despite these obstacles, there are opportunities, Al-Ohali noted. "We are living in an inverted world - and the world continues to change. Today, the share of GDP growth shows that emerging economies outpace their advanced counterparts. This could lead to big opportunities for our business.” Source: Weekly "PetroChemical News", Durham, NC, USA; 19 Jan 2015
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

www.gupta-verlag.de/thermoplastic-elastomers