APIC 2018 participants predict promising future for Asian petrochemical industry

The 39th Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) 2018 closed on 20 August having addressed some of the most important issues challenging the petrochemical industry in Asia.

Akbar Md Thayoob, president of the Malaysian Petrochemicals Association, delivers the welcome address at APIC 2018.
Akbar Md Thayoob, president of the Malaysian Petrochemicals Association, delivers the welcome address at APIC 2018.

Movements in the oil price resulting from a potential trade war between the US and China was a topic very much on the minds of over 2,000 delegates attending the conference.

Industry players were also actively seeking new ways to deliver consumer and industrial products, on the back of Asia’s continued economic and population growth. As many as 2.5 billion people, with an estimated 450 million newly urbanised, are expected to be placed in Asia over the next 20 years.

In order to meet rising demand, major petrochemical companies in Asia are building supply capactiy. According to IHS Markit, Asia (excluding China) is predicted to have an increase in chemical capacity from 137 million tonnes to 153 million tonnes in the next five years.

Malaysia, for example, will shortly be adding capacity in 2019 when the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project (RAPID) comes on-line boosting production from the current 16.3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 23.1mtpa.  RAPID is just one of six petrochemical plants planned in the South East Asia (SEA) region to meet future demand. Petrochemical exports in the SEA region alone is expected to increase by 55% to 7.5mtpa by 2020 while imports will decrease by 28%.

Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, president and group CEO, PETRONAS said: “With the completion of our Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) by 2019 and RAPID complex, we are set to add a further 3.3mtpa of commodity and differentiated petrochemical products into the market”.

According to president of the Malaysian Petrochemicals Association (MPA) Akbar Md Thayoob: “Collaboration at a governmental level is required to fine-tune policies and incentives to enhance long-term capital investment and provide a stable business environment conducive to business growth.”

In his address, deputy minister of international trade and industry, YB Dr Ong Kian Ming, said: “Challenges industry faces cannot be answered by the solutions of yesterday.” Malaysia is looking for good investment and collaboration, he hoped that the ideas exchanged at APIC 2018 would allow the industry to create mutually beneficial partnerships to unlock greater potential for the industry.

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