M.E petrochemical cos to play pivotal role - Mr Beurden, EVP, Shell Chemicals
Mr Beurden, EVP, Shell Chemicals
In future, the world will need vast amounts of extra energy to support economic growth and reduce poverty. And energy will need to be produced and used in environmentally and socially responsible ways, including dealing with greenhouse gas emissions. In brief, the energy challenge is: more energy, less carbon dioxide.
Speaking at the 2008 Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association forum in Dubai on December 3, Shell Chemicals Executive Vice President Ben van Beurden said: "There is no question that both the Middle East and the global chemical industry have central and expanding roles to play in meeting the energy challenge.
"Today, the Middle East is primarily a region of suppliers of basic petrochemicals and plastics for export. But increasingly Middle Eastern producers will also become suppliers of higher added value products essential for the foundation of broader based industrial and economic development across the region.
"Meanwhile, the global chemical industry is a major energy consumer and emitter of CO2, but also and increasingly a producer of products and services that can help the world to manage and meet the energy challenge."
Ben said the chemical industry would need to extend its range of feedstocks, to focus on energy efficiency and, increasingly, employ carbon capture and storage technologies in order to reduce CO2 emissions. However, he noted that chemicals industry products are helping to meet the energy challenge in ways ranging from reductions in weight and fuel consumption of automotive vehicles, and improving insulation in buildings and appliances, to enabling enhanced oil recovery and more efficient formulations and packing options for detergents.
A combination of energy and technology and collaboration along the value chain will be essential for long-term, sustainable success, he said. But the chemical industry will also need to ensure it able to attract new people into its ranks to provide the creativity and leadership to make this happen.
"From what I know and have seen of this industry in the Middle East and across the world, we are blessed with some exceptional human talent. But increasingly we are competing with other sectors to recruit the new generation of engineers, technologists and managers required to meet the challenges of the future," the Shell executive noted.
Concluding, Ben said: "The chemical sector holds many of the keys that will allow society to meet the energy challenge. But in the final analysis, our industry will be judged by our peers, consumers, governments and society at large, on our ability to optimise our energy efficiency and minimise our CO2 emissions while delivering products and services that make the world a better and sustainable place to live."