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MENAFN Press - 20/03/2014
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(MENAFN Press) Mohammed Al Mady, Chairman of GPCA and Vice President and CEO, SABIC, highlighted the importance of innovation for the Gulf's petrochemicals and chemicals industry on the closing day of the GPCA's inaugural Research & Innovation Summit in Dubai

"The Middle East and particularly the GCC is facing increasing pressure to secure employment for future generations"Recent history has proved that entrenched competitive advantages can fade and that there is little mercy for those who do not get new ones. Innovation has, therefore, become a must to deliver advantages, primarily in technology," Al Mady told the delegates present

Noting that the chemical industry in the Gulf "started late in the innovation game," Al Mady said the region's chemicals industry needs to find ways to gain a competitive edge over its competitors.

"Going forward, the hunger for innovation, technological or otherwise, is here to stay. Today the think tanks for innovation or even for smart practices in technology acquisition remain mostly in other parts of the world. The seed of an idea I would like to leave with you is that, if something is critical for our future competitive advantage, we should master it," Al Mady said

The GCC's petrochemical industry has already made significant progress in the field of innovation with 733 patents granted in 2012, a 36 per cent growth year-on-year. However, regional spending on research and development lags behind Japan, China, the US and the EU, with the GCC spending only 0.8 per cent of the US49 billion global investment in this area

Dr. Ernesto Occhiello, Executive Vice President, Technology and Innovation, SABIC highlighted that successful innovaion can only occur if it is looked at holistically

"Innovation has to be with the whole company, it cannot just be left with the research department"Recruitment is the most important thing management can do; how to develop them and how to find them," said Occhiello

Moving forward, industry experts have predicted that the GCC plastics producers will be at the forefront of innovation within the petrochemical industry. Plastics, also known as polymers, account for nearly a fifth of the GCC's petrochemicals portfolio. According to GPCA estimates, the region's polymer capacity sits at 23.8 million tons, or 18.4% of the Gulf's 129.2 million ton petrochemical production.

"Continuous innovation is driving the rapid growth of the plastics industry," said Dr. Alfred Stern, Executive Vice President, Polyolefins, Borealis. "Plastics give the opportunity to contribute [to solving] the main challenges: climate change, waste and recycling, food, health, energy and water.

The GPCA released the Innovation in the Chemical Industry report during the Research & Innovation Summit. Prepared in collaboration with the international consultancy Stratley, the report provides an overview of innovation in the chemicals industry, and how innovation strategies across operations in an organisation can support sustainable growth

The Research & Innovation Summit featured a total of 165 delegates from the US, Europe, Asia and the GCC. Delegates heard from 23 speakers from 10 countries in sessions focusing on why innovation is important, how to measure returns on research and innovation, how to create an environment for it to prosper and new aspects that are driving research and innovation.

About the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association
The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) is the voice of the industry in the region. Established as a non-profit organization in March 2006, it is the first trade association in the Gulf and the largest and most respected industry body representing the downstream sector in the Middle East. Today, the association has 232 members from over 30 countries, including the largest Arab world and multinational companies.Committed to providing a regional forum where stakeholders from across the industry share insights, solutions and new ideas, the GPCA has six working committees “ Plastics, Supply Chain, Fertilizers, International Trade, Research and Innovation, and Responsible Care “ and organizes six world-class events each year. The association also publishes an annual report and a regular industry newsletter, Insight and reports. Since its inception, the GPCA has raised the standard for industry-wide cooperation and continues to promote the region and its interests in the international policymaking sphere. Additional information is available at www.gpca.org.ae and the GPCA can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.



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