First annual conference of Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association opens

The First Annual Forum of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) opened today in Dubai with international experts and prominent personalities from the industry praising the GPCA for embarking on a concerted campaign to promote the region's petrochemicals and chemicals sector.

Held under the patronage of His Highness, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the event was opened by Mr. Mohamad Al-Mady, Chairman of GPCA and Vice Chairman and CEO of SABIC.

Formed in March 2006, the non-profit regional association has eight founding members including
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), EQUATE Petrochemical Co. (EQUATE), Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co. (GPIC), Petrochemical Industries Co. (PIC), Qatar Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (QAPCO), Qatar Vinyl Co. Ltd. (QVC), National Industrialization Company (TASNEE), and Abu Dhabi Polymers Co. Ltd (Borouge).

Commenting on the first forum, Mr. Mohamed Al-Mady, Chairman of GPCA, and Vice Chairman and CEO of SABIC, said: 'The GCC's strategic importance in terms of the global petrochemicals and chemicals association is indisputable. I believe that the future prospects of this industry are very promising. By sharing our resources we can further enhance the role of this region in international debate, facilitate regional cooperation and ensure growth that is both sustainable and socially responsible. GPCA will play an important role to this end'.

Other Keynote speakers included Michael J. Dolan, President - Exxon Mobil Chemical Company, USA; Fran Keeth, Executive Vice President Chemicals - Shell, UK; John Taylor, CEO - Borealis, Austria; Carlos A. Cabrera, President & CEO - UOP, USA; Otto Fritzer CEO - Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group B.V, The Netherlands; Khaled Al Falih, Senior Vice President - Saudi Aramco, KSA; Terry Newendorp, Chairman & CEO - Taylor DeJongh, USA; and Teresa Budworth, CEO - The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health, UK.

The first day's key topics included a review of the global petrochemical demand; issues involved in raising the capital for capacity-expansion including bank limitations, capital markets and other sources of finance; shipping and logistics: issues and challenges; an analysis of the supply and demand for gas and feedstocks in the GCC; the role of NOCs in the further development of the petrochemical sector in the region; and talent management for the petrochemical industry.

Industry experts are increasingly looking at the region as the centre of gravity for the global industry. Part of the reason for GCC's prominence can be attributed to easy access to feedstock, access to the latest technology, and strategic location at the intersection of the Americas, Asia and the rest of the world.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Hamad Al-Terkait, President and CEO of EQUATE and Vice Chairman of GPCA, said: 'This First Annual Forum is a milestone for us. We have come a long way since we first conceived of such a body. Our membership has reached 59 and we have a consolidated vision for the future.'

Commenting about the establishment of GPCA, Abdullah Bin Zaid Al-Hagbani, Secretary General of the GPCA said: 'The response to our first Annual Forum is both gratifying and encouraging. More than 430 delegates have attended the forum making it the largest gathering of its kind in the region. There has been a high level of debate and discussion during the question and answer sessions, indicating a high level of interest. This is a highly interested and charged industry and we need to constantly share our insights and experiences'.

GPCA, which has its headquarters in Dubai, has set up three sub committees to deal with communication and promotion; human resources development and technical issues. Other committees will be formed in due course.