MUSCAT: Senior industry leaders from the six GCC states convened at the 3rd edition of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) Leaders Forum to discuss the industry’s priorities in 2023 and beyond. The exclusive, c-suite event concluded on 1 March 2023 in Kempinski Hotel, Muscat, Oman under the theme, ‘Bracing for Change: GCC Chemicals in 2023 & Beyond’ with 78 leaders from nine countries in attendance.
Hilal Kharusi, Chief Executive, Commercial & Downstream, OQ, opened the forum, highlighting the importance of carbon neutrality. “We must embrace the energy transition and look for ways to make our operations more sustainable. This means exploring new technologies, such as carbon capture and utilization, investing in renewable energy sources, and innovation,” he said.
“The petrochemical and chemical industries have an important role to play in supporting the circular economy. This means developing products that are recyclable, reducing waste and emissions, and exploring new ways to use waste streams as raw materials,” Kharusi added.
Delegates enjoyed an array of insightful presentations from senior industry experts on pertinent topics, including the looming macro-economic outlook for 2023 and its expected impact on the chemical industry, delivered by Rachid Majiti, Senior Partner, McKinsey, as well as two Leadership Dialogues on international trade and the transition to net-zero.
If import tariffs on the top 10 exported chemical products were removed, based on 2021 trade figures, the estimated benefits for the industry could be in the tune of USD 747 million, according to a new GPCA white paper entitled ‘Importance and Benefits of Trade Agreements for the GCC Chemicals Industry’. This underlines the importance of Free Trade Agreements as a hugely beneficial instrument to increase the competitiveness of the GCC chemical industry and drive higher socio-economic benefits for the GCC region, delegates heard.
In light of this, panelists Moosa Al Moosa, President – Middle East and Turkey, The Dow Chemical Company; Ahmad Al Saleh, Global Business Director, Ethylene Glycol, EQUATE; and Dr. Evar Umeozor, Research Fellow, Oil & Gas Program, KAPSARC, discussed ‘Heralding a New Era in International Trade – GCC, Africa, and Asia’ in the first Leadership Dialogue moderated by Tim Figures, Associate Director – Global Trade and Investment, BCG.
The chemical industry is the 3rd largest source of emissions in the industrial sector and contributes 14% of total industrial CO2 emissions, according to a new white paper developed by GPCA and dss+ due to be released this month. The paper also highlights that the industry is central to the achievement of net-zero ambitions, as its products contribute to emissions reduction in other industries. True net-zero transformation cannot be achieved in isolation without the involvement of external stakeholders such as policy makers, suppliers, customers and financial institutes, the paper argues.
Discussing how to tackle the transition to net-zero in the second Leadership Dialogue of the day entitled ‘Pathways for transformation and the transition to net-zero’ were Najla Al Jamali, Chief Executive Alternative Energy, OQ, Dr. Preeti Jain, Global Director – Policy, Chemicals, & Carbon Solutions, LanzaTech, and Dietmar Siersdorfer, MD, Siemens Energy Middle East, with great insights from the panel’s moderators Oliver Gawad, Director – Industrial Strategy and Sustainability, and Mark Dickson, Global Head of Energy Transition and Decarbonization, dss+.
Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA, commented: “The 3rd GPCA Leaders Forum tackled some of the key priority areas facing chemical industry leaders in 2023 and beyond – the macro-economic outlook, the state of international trade, and the opportunities to progress the net-zero transition in the run up to 2050. This was an important industry meeting which saw CEOs of GPCA member companies converge from all over the region to set the industry priorities for the near term, network and exchange ideas. The level of insight, knowledge and expertise shared at this year’s GPCA Leaders Forum was truly exceptional, and I am confident that our leaders are ready to welcome the challenges and opportunities that will come their way with confidence.”
Following the 3rd edition of the GPCA Leaders Forum, GPCA organized its Annual General Assembly meeting in the Sultanate’s capital, Muscat, where GPCA members convened to review the association’s activities in 2022 and its key achievements. As part of the annual meeting, GPCA released the 2022 edition of its Annual Report.