ABU DHABI, - GCC petrochemical producers should explore new partnership models for collaboration to collectively capitalise on market access, if they are to become a global industry powerhouse, according to Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO.

Speaking at the 11th annual Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association conference, in Dubai, Dr Al Jaber called on GCC petrochemical producers to think creatively about how best to seize the opportunities presented by growing demand for petrochemical products, particularly in Asia.

"Let us look beyond our borders and collaborate more closely," said Dr Al Jaber. "Let us overcome barriers, by enhancing trade policies, and collectively capitalise on market access. By doing so, the GCC can become a truly global powerhouse.

"By working together, leveraging our combined strengths, aligning our interests and investing together, we can extend our reach, increase our competitive advantages and grow our market share."

Dr Al Jaber told conference delegates that partnerships are more critical than ever, if GCC petrochemical companies are to thrive in today's intensely competitive global economy.

"The sheer growth scale, and diversity of the petrochemical demand curve, requires us to shape partnership models, best suited to seize the moment," he added.

According to Dr Al Jaber, the greatest opportunity for GCC petrochemical producers lies in the economic shift from the low growth markets in the west to the high growth markets in the east. By 2030, he pointed out, Asia will become the main driver of global economic growth, with demand for petrochemicals doubling.

But whilst the GCC petrochemicals industry has been growing at over 10 per cent every year since 2000, its growth must accelerate, if it is to keep pace with demand. According to Platts Petrochemical Analytics, the global demand for polyethylene will exceed supply post 2022, opening up further growth opportunities.

Highlighting, ADNOC's recently approved 2030 strategy and five-year business plan, Dr Sultan said ADNOC plans to almost triple its petrochemical production capacity, from 4.5 to 11.4 million tonnes per year, by 2025.

"To achieve this we will seamlessly integrate our refining and petrochemical businesses and exploit the full portfolio of derivatives from naphtha. In doing so, we will maximize value and maintain strong margins," Dr Al Jaber said.

In parallel with the GCC industry's efforts to build new partnerships, Dr Al Jaber said opportunities to build bridges and alliances with companies globally should also be pursued, adding that a fresh, creative approach is needed to open new market opportunities and shorten the distance to the customer and consumer.

"These partnerships should benefit our shareholders and our stakeholders alike, building not just profit, but social progress as well. With the right partners, we can generate greater value and maximise the benefits," Dr Al Jaber said.

"We at ADNOC are ready, willing and able to forge new partnerships that will help propel the region's industry forward."

According to Platts Petrochemical Analytics, the top three markets for Middle East Polyethylene in 2015 were China, with 3.6 million tonnes per annum, followed by Singapore with 1.1 million tonnes per annum and India with 0.75 million tonnes per annum. By 2025, Asia is projected to account for 62 per cent of global polyethylene demand, with China and India the biggest markets.

Source: Emirates News Agency