Saudi Aramco CEO Outlines Vision for GCC Chemicals Industry
Khalid A. Al-Falih,President and CEO,Saudi Aramcocalled for greater integration, innovation and collaboration across the region's petrochemicals industry to unlock its potential and drive a ‘golden decade’ of economic growth and job creation.
Speaking at the9thGulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) Forum, November 24,Al-Falihsaid that over the past decade “overall regional development in the petrochemicals industry has focused on the manufacturing ofcommodities for exportby leveraging our feedstock advantage, economies of scale, and extensive industrial infrastructure,”adding that “we have tended to grow horizontallyrather than through vertical integration.”Al-Falihexplained that“the existing model will not realize our full potential because the global industry landscape is changing rapidly and creating stronger competition.”
Al-Falihaddressed fourkeyimperatives that would further unlock the region’s potential in the petrochemicals industry:
- Developing a balanced portfolio of chemical feed-stocks to drive flexible economic growth across the sector;
- Upgrading the region’s existing chemicals infrastructure to build world-class capability and accelerate innovation;
- Multiplying the number of industry participants byencouraging a vibrant small to medium-sized enterprise sector andstrengtheningentrepreneurship; and
- Applyinggreater integrationand critical mass to tackle the region’s infrastructure, technology and skills challenges.
Al-Falihsaidthat harnessing the region’s competitive advantages would help driveeconomic diversification into high-value manufacturing sectors andcould createnew, high-skilledjobs to sustain the region’s growth.He added thatdecisions madetoday and tomorrow will determine the region’slong-term prospects in the global economy. “Working together and acting in our common interests, the region’s chemicals industry has the ability totransform the entire regionfrom abase ofnatural resourcesto a knowledge-based economy,”he said.
Al-Falih highlighted the region’s ‘youth bulge’ - a demographic shift of a new generation of men and women- and the need to embrace and engage their talents as the region’spetrochemical industry evolves. Hesaid:“Over the long-term our youth population will prove to be the region’s single greatest competitive advantage.Companies should tap their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and love of technology as part of their strategy to drive growth.Energetic, wired for technology,andwith an appetite for constant learning, our youth can make the difference in propelling our collective industry forward,"he said.
In conclusion, Al-Falihcalled upon the region's petrochemical industry leaders towork towards realizing a‘golden decade’ of economic growth and job creation, adding that to achieve this "we need more effective integration, innovation and collaboration across theGulf petrochemicals industry.It is time to makethevisiona reality byredoublingour commercial and technological collaboration and acceleratingour combined pace of change.