Chemical Industry at K 2013
Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Functional Materials and System Solutions Take Center Stage
Regionalisation or Reshoring – The Strategy is Decisive
As enthusiasm for China suffers its first setback, attention is turning to a new growth market. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain are ramping up their involvement in the petrochemical value-add chain. Mega projects are springing up all around the Persian Gulf, while the industry giants watch skeptically.
In Saudi Arabia, Sadara Chemicals is building one of the world’s largest petrochemical and polymer complexes in a single construction phase. Construction of Chemaweyaat Taweelah Chemicals Industrial City is already underway in Abu Dhabi at a cost of US$ 20 billion. Whether these developments should be seen as a risk or a challenge depends, among other things, on corporate strategy. The giant US chemical producer Dow is working alongside of Saudi Aramco, building a mega complex with 26 production plants.
BASF is taking a different approach: The company has made a number of strategic investments in the region which are intended to create a bridge between additive production in Europe and the Arabian petro boom. A state-of-the-art antioxidant plant has been built in Bahrain. Local BASF Managing Director Gordian Schilling reported that the company plans to produce up to 16,000 tonnes of this additive for the regional petrochemical industry in the Gulf state. He also said that local production cuts lead times in half compared to shipments from Europe. However, this is just the beginning of the “closer to the customer” strategy. “We will offer local solutions in areas where we have local sales and provide direct service to our customers,“ Schilling added.
How Chemical Companies Remain Competitive in the Plastics and Polymer Business
Regionalization, reshoring and turbulence in the global economy make the situation in the plastics industry difficult to assess. One thing seems certain: European producers will not remain competitive in the long run if they rely on standard mass-produced products. What they need are specialized solutions — and there are plenty of problems out there including climate change, the desire for mobility, population growth and energy efficiency. Tomorrow’s plastics manufacturers will have to listen very carefully to deliver customer-specific solutions. K provides a unique opportunity for dialogue. “There is no other place in the world where you can experience such a broad diversity of raw material, processing and applications technology. In that respect, K is truly unique,” claimed Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, Management Board Chairman at Messe Düsseldorf. ●