Chemical industry must collaborate and innovate, say speakers at 13th annual GPCA Forum

Inaugural Address Delivered By H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Minister of Oil, Bahrain

The exhibition was inaugurated by the Oil Minister of Bahrain H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa

The exhibition was inaugurated by the Oil Minister of Bahrain H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa

Dubai: In his inaugural address on day one of the 13th GPCA Annual Forum, H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Minister of Oil, Bahrain, called on the chemical industry in the GCC to collaborate and innovate to meet today’s global challenges.

“Trade wars, currency challenges and the commoditization of products have led the chemical industry to the crossroads we are at today. We must acknowledge the key role the GCC plays in meeting global demand and utilize our strong regional network, acknowledge best practices from across the globe and focus our efforts on capitalizing on the numerous innovation opportunities that the move towards a circular economy will bring,” he said, addressing more than 2,100 delegates.  

Strong and visionary CEO leadership is essential for implementing the circular economy and reaching new levels of sustainable economic growth. By applying these principles, companies can design out waste, increase resource productivity and decouple growth from natural resource consumption, the Minister said.

Citing the wave of innovation of 'Industry 4.0', the fourth industrial revolution enabled by digital and physical technologies, he urged industry leaders to embrace technology with cautious optimism, empower existing teams and future professionals keeping issues such as security and operation excellence at the forefront.

His speech mirrored the start of proceedings on day one, which included a glimpse into the future, and encouraged regional chemical industry professionals to leverage the full potential of data and circular economy, to increase efficiencies and foster further innovation.

Introducing the Forum was Yousef Al-Benyan, Vice Chairman and CEO, SABIC and Chairman, GPCA, who delivered the welcome address.

“Global challenges to transformation are real. In order to meet these, regional and global chemical industry players need to focus their efforts on portfolio enhancement, competitiveness and growth measures. To remain relevant in this transforming value chain, we must collaborate through value-creating and win-win partnerships. Collaboration with IOCs and NOCs in North America and Asia, R&D investment, customer intimacy, and digitalization are key to the viability of your business so if you’re not there yet, the time is now,” he said.

Representing one of the world’s fastest growing markets for refining and chemical products, Raghavendra Rao, Secretary, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, India, was also among the dignitaries attending the forum and addressing its theme of “Executing Transformation and Investing in Growth”. From global industrial opportunities in India, regional growth prospects and fundamental shifts in customer preferences, he provided a global outlook and highlighted issues that the industry as a whole needs to address.

The august speaker list for this year’s forum included Amin Nasser, President and CEO, Saudi Aramco, Musabbeh Al-Kaabi, CEO, Petroleum and Petrochemicals, Mubadala; Mutlaq H. Al-Morished, CEO, TASNEE, and global chemical CEOs – Jim Fitterling, CEO, Dow Chemical Company, Mark Lashier, President and CEO, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company; and Daniele Ferrari, CEO, Versalis.

Keynote speakers on day two were Murat Sönmez, Managing Director, Head of Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and Fernando Gómez, Head of Chemistry and Advanced Materials Industry, both from the World Economic Forum. They highlighted the importance of Industry 4.0, while Dr. Aabed Al-Saadoun, Deputy Minister for Company Affairs, Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Saudi Arabia, discussed Saudi Arabia’s national industrial development and logistics program.

Citing strong growth figures, throughout the 2-day event, speakers highlighted the need for evolution within the chemical industry bearing in mind the emergence of new technologies, product slates and upgrades in capabilities. They also reiterated the importance of ensuring that the industry’s commitment towards a circular economy remains steadfast and integral to creating economic value, jobs and mitigating environmental impact.

NOV28 “To have the minister open the forum is a matter of great pride and underscores the significance of the GPCA Annual Forum in our sector and the region as a whole. These august speakers will address the challenges and opportunities of executing transformation and set out the key imperatives to invest in growth,” he added.

Other exciting events on the agenda included a seminar on the Circular Economy and four masterclass sessions dedicated to Digitalization – opportunities and challenges from introducing new technologies; Cybersecurity; Women in Industry; and ‘The global chemical industry in an era of protectionism’. 


About the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association
The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) was established in 2006 to represent the downstream hydrocarbon industry in the Arabian Gulf. Today, the association voices the common interests of more than 250 member companies from the chemical and allied industries, accounting for over 95 percent of chemical output in the GCC. The industry makes up the second largest manufacturing sector in the region, producing over US$108 billion worth of products every year.

GPCA supports the petrochemical and chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf through advocacy, networking and thought leadership initiatives aimed at helping member companies to connect, share and advance knowledge, contribute to international dialogue, and become prime influencers in shaping the future of the global petrochemicals industry.

Committed to providing a regional platform for stakeholders from around the world, GPCA manages 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, regular newsletters and various other industry reports.

For more information, visit

Slavka Atanasova                                                                                                          
Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association                                         
P. O. Box 123055,                                                                   
Dubai, United Arab Emirates                                                                               
T: + 9714 451 0666 Ext. 126

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