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Chemical companies need to decarbonise quicker than the manufacturing sector, the CEO of one of the Middle East’s leading firms has warned.
Speaking at the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association Leaders’ forum in Dubai, the head of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation — known as SABIC — urged his industry to adopt a “laser-sharp focus” to improve its green credentials.
Yousef A. Al-Benyan, also chairman of the company, acknowledged the wide-ranging implications, urgency, and impact on shareholder value of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by utilizing a circular carbon economy platform.
Addressing delegates, he said: “For GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) chemical companies, achieving the decarbonization objective is even more critical than for other manufacturing sectors of the economy, as the chemical industry itself is a decarbonization tool for national oil companies.
“We have to think about this challenge much more strategically with a laser-sharp focus.”
Al-Benyan identified three priority transformation areas for the chemical industry: partnerships and collaborations; agility; and new business and operating models.
He added: “The key question is how GCC companies can address these priorities. The answer is by focusing on talent and technology. We have to take a global approach to attract and retain top talent and, at the same time, we must create a sustainable source of competitive talent at home.”
He went on: “As far as technology is concerned, we have to admit that GCC chemical companies are largely technology users. Going forward, technology will create a greater divide between technology-developers and technology-users as the resource advantage erodes.”
The event follows the inaugural GPCA Leaders Forum held last year, which saw regional leaders share their learnings from the pandemic, deliver a unified message of resilience, and re-emerge ready to face future challenges.
SABIC unveiled its Carbon Neutrality Roadmap in 2021, setting out a strategy to decarbonize its operations by 2050, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The roadmap identifies five pathways to decarbonization: Reliability, Energy Efficiency and Improvements; Renewable Energy; Electrification; Carbon Capture; and Green/Blue Hydrogen.
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