Engineering News

Global Petrochemical Industry Will Continue Shift
Towards Middle East and China

Friday March 10, 2:12 pm ET

Speakers at Groundbreaking Chemical Week Conference Agree on Shift

DUBAI, UAE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 10, 2006--Chemical Week and SRIC, business units of Access Intelligence (A.I., Rockville, MD), hosted their first annual Middle East Petrochemicals Outlook Conference on February 21-22, 2006 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai.

Industry leaders from around the world discussed the continuing shift of petrochemicals production from established bases in Europe and the U.S. to the Middle East, where 50% of planned global ethylene capacity will be built. Product is destined for fast-growing markets in China and Asia, where competition will be fierce in the coming years.

"We were delighted with the outcome of this important event, which took place at a critical moment for global petrochemicals supply and demand," John Pearson, Divisional President, AI, said. "The Middle East will become pivotal in global chemicals trade and the location of many exciting new projects, sponsored by regional governments as well as the private sector."

Hamad Rashid Al-Mohannadi, vice chairman of the board of directors and manager of Qatar Petrochemical Co. (Doha), said in an opening keynote speech that Qatar, owner of the world's largest gas field, has an aggressive investment program in petrochemicals and will be the world's future petrochemical hub. Qatar's ethylene capacity will rise to 2.5 million metric tons/year by the end of 2008, and to more than 6 million metric tons/year when separate joint ventures with ExxonMobil, Honam Petrochemical, and Shell come on line at the beginning of the next decade, he said.

Osama Al-Zamil, General Manager of the Zamil group (Riyadh), and Matouq Jannah, Senior Vice, President at Safra (Jeddah), called for stronger support from the Saudi government for private sector projects in Saudi Arabia.

The competitive edge of Middle East producers could erode, however, Kamal P. Nanavaty, President of Cracker and Polymers at Reliance Industries (Mumbai), told delegates. This is because high demand for polypropylene and other derivatives of liquid naphtha-based ethylene crackers cannot be fulfilled from the gas-based ethylene crackers in the Middle East. "The propylene chain improves Asian competitiveness," Nanavaty said.

Announcing the formation of a new association of Middle East petrochemical producers, John Taylor, CEO of Borealis (Vienna), called on industry leaders to improve the reputation of the plastics industry worldwide.

George Intille, Vice President at SRI Consulting, warned that, based on current consumption and official reserve estimates, the world has only 19 years of oil supply left without Middle East resources. Europe has only three years "before the lights go out," he said. Global gas supplies are more plentiful but Intille called for the Middle East to invest in recoverability of resources and new technologies for upgrading natural reserves. To achieve the full value from resources, Middle East producers should add value downstream, he advised.

About Chemical Week

Chemical Week is the leading news and business magazine for the global chemical industry. Chemical Week conferences bring together industry leaders and opinion-formers around the world in key strategic locations, to encourage important industry debate and enhance performance of chemical companies around the world.

Source: Access Intelligence

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