Petrochemical industry needs to transform to overcome upcoming challenges

Golf petro‘The Chemical Industry in Transformation: The Journey Begins,’ was the theme for 2017 conference. (Image source: SABIC)The industry sector across the GCC region needs to transform itself for the upcoming challenges in order to continue the strong outlook for the Gulf petrochemical and chemical industry, according to Yousef Al-Benyan, vice-chairman of SABIC and CEO of the GPCA

He spoke this during addressing the 12th annual Forum of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), held from 27-29 November 2017.

According to him, the GCC petrochemical industry needs to get fitter, more nimble and more agile. “We need to invest in the right technology and innovation that delivers results. Consolidation needs to be looked at very seriously,” he mentioned.

The industry is facing fast-paced disruptions caused by technology and recent economic developments in the US, Europe, China and elsewhere, Al-Benyan said.

The members of the GPCA are required to manage costs more effectively, institute world-class commercial manufacturing, supply chain and functional operations and look seriously at the possibilities of both divestiture and consolidation.

“Transformation is the fundamental change that our industry needs to embrace if only we are to come out stronger in these challenging times,” he said.

During the conference, Mosaed Al-Ohali, executive vice president for corporate finance at SABIC, said, “Catastrophic incidents have direct impact on the bottom line of the company and can have a long-lasting effect. Risk impact can extend to brand damage, and difficulty in recruiting and retaining top talent.”

In order to prevent such outcome, Al-Ohali said that the industry requires two main pillars, including a leadership mindset that counteracts complacency and organisational capabilities that continuously discover and control risks.

Leaders and organisations need to cultivate a sense of vulnerability that brings focus to dynamic risk discovery tools, early signals detection and driving effective learning into the organisation to achieve this, he added.

The GPCA represents the downstream hydrocarbon industry in the Arabian Gulf. Established in 2006, the association aims to point out the common interests of more than 250 member companies from the chemical and allied industries, accounting for more than 95 per cent of chemical output in the Gulf region.

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