Petrochemical industry to grow 5% to 6% annually, says MPA

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by BLOOMBERG

THE petrochemical industry is expected to grow by 5% to 6% annually despite current uncertainties such as the Russia-Ukraine war, according to the Malaysian Petrochemicals Association (MPA).

President Akbar Md Thayoob said the industry has been constantly growing above the rate of the economy, noting that the Russia-Ukraine war presented a double-edged sword for the industry.

He said the war is disrupting trade flow while also creating urgency for certain geographical areas to ramp up production and replace the volume taken out from the system.

“Some industry segments will be growing much faster than the others but overall, it is an important growth engine for the country.

“Malaysia is well positioned to reap the benefits of the ongoing crisis but has a role in easing the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict by strengthening the petroleum, petrochemicals and palm oil industries,” he said during the Oil and Gas Asia 2022 press conference by Informa Markets in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Akbar also highlighted that the petrochemicals industry was in stabilising mode post-Covid-19.

He added that nevertheless, there are still uncertainties moving forward, and the current cycle would not be the same as before.

“We will have blips in between crises which can really alter the next cycle,” he said.

On energy transition, Akbar said most petrochemicals players have already been drafting their framework toward becoming a net-zero carbon emission industry.

He added that there are some low-hanging fruits which the industry can implement immediately such as designing new assets from the right footing, as all new investments that include net-zero targets.

“We are still at the drawing board but I am sure in the next few years, most companies and organisations will have a blueprint to guide them,” he noted.

Meanwhile, MPA, together with the Malaysian Oil, Gas and Energy Services and Informa Markets Malaysia are jointly organising the Oil and Gas Asia, the Malaysia Oil and Gas Services Exhibition and Conference (MOGSEC), as well as the inaugural Petrochemicals Sustainability Conference 2022 (PSC 2022) from Sept 13 to Sept 15 this year.

The event will span six halls at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre with over 500 participating companies from over 25 countries, nine international country pavilions and an expected 20,000 trade and professional attendees.

Sustainability, growth and future aspirations of the industry are expected to be the dominant themes as the industry reflects on fresh insights and innovative pathways to navigate implications from recent volatile markets, global energy transition ambitions and net-zero carbon emission goals that ultimately contribute towards nation-building and the national economy through overall industry development.

Commenting on this, Akbar said the conference will bring together key stakeholders including the government, industry associations, petrochemical producers, technology and solution providers, brand owners and supply chain organisations.

He added that PSC 2022 is set to be an interactive platform that encourages conversation, knowledge sharing and engagement among industry players and key stakeholders and prompts meaningful discussions on common strategies to support the journey towards net-zero ambitions.

“This knowledge cross-sharing platform will also provide opportunities for the participants to acquire industry insights and keep abreast with the latest technology and solutions to address climate change challenges,” he said.

MOGSC president Syed Saggaf Syed Ahmad expressed that it is delighted to make a strong comeback after 2018 and the timing could not have been better.

He said this was because Malaysia has just unveiled its National OGSE Industry Blueprint 2021-2030 to enhance the competitiveness of Malaysian companies in the global market in a sustainable manner.

“I expect a lot of intense conversations to take place on the next steps, new technologies and resources that we can tap into,” he said.