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Gulf producers need to build capabilities, invest in people, say speakers at 11th GPCA Annual Forum

 

Dubai, UAE. December 6, 2016: Petrochemical and chemical producers in the Arabian Gulf are well positioned to build upon decades of success by further developing their capabilities and investing in the next generation of talent, said speakers at the 11th edition of the Annual GPCA Forum that took place in Dubai last week.

As well as maximizing their own feedstock advantage, companies should explore new and innovative avenues for petrochemical and chemical production, while also focusing on product differentiation through leveraging existing technologies and driving innovation.

Talent training and development would need to remain high on the agenda of GCC chemical and petrochemical producers, said speakers during the three-day event. Going forward, the region would require a workforce that is highly dynamic, multi-skilled, inclusive and diverse in order to weather the challenges presented to it in the future.

“This part of the world is home to some of the most talented, ambitious and promising individuals, which offers significant opportunities for global and regional stakeholders. To build for the future, we will need to harness the talent of the next generation of scientists and engineers today so they can lead the industry into a better and more prosperous tomorrow,” said Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General of the GPCA.

Delivering the opening address at the 11th Annual GPCA Forum, Yousef Al-Benyan, Vice Chairman and CEO, SABIC and Chairman, GPCA, urged the Gulf chemical industry to build local capabilities and start attracting the high-end manufacturing operations that the region needs to truly transform itself and create high-quality manufacturing jobs. In this regard, the establishment of more research and development centers in the GCC region was a positive sign, he said.

Intraregional collaboration and forming strategic partnerships with key global players will play an important role in enabling GCC producers to compete on a global scale, according to another keynote speaker at this year’s installment of the GPCA flagship event.

Addressing the audience in a speech during Day 1 of the Forum, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, said: “If we are to thrive in today’s intensely competitive global economy, partnerships are more critical than ever. The sheer growth, scale and diversity of the petrochemical demand curve requires us to shape partnership models best suited to seize the moment.”

Day 2 of the Annual Forum kicked off with a speech by Andre Borschberg, Chairman of the Solar Impulse Project, the only plane in the world that could fly day and night relying only on the power of the sun. Borschberg emphasized on the role of the chemical and petrochemical industry in driving innovation and offering alternative solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges including energy efficiency, energy conservation and better use of resources.

In particular, he highlighted the fact that despite using no fuel whatsoever, the Solar Impulse plane relied for 98% of its parts on petroleum-derived products which made the aircraft lighter and more efficient allowing it to complete the first of its kind solar powered round-the-world flight.

The 11th Annual GPCA Forum took place on 27-29 November in Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Over 2000 delegates descended from all corners of the globe for a three-day event of knowledge sharing, innovation and best practice exchange. Among the key themes and topics discussed during the conference were talent training and development, the role of digitalization in driving profitability, how to optimize supply chain operations and long-term strategies for business growth and success.

Jim Fitterling, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Dow Chemical Company, who also gave a keynote speech at the Forum, commented: “The GPCA has become ‘the voice’ of the chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf region. And this year’s forum arrives at just the right moment to hear about – and discuss – the future of the Gulf petrochemical and chemical industry. Even against a background of uncertainty and reflection, Dow has never been more optimistic about the industry.”

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