The tale of two transitions on the future of petrochemicals

Wednesday 25 November | 11AM Dubai time

The energy transition means that the future of oil is now inextricably linked to petrochemicals. Standalone oil refineries that focus solely on fuel are becoming increasingly outdated and the preferred strategy of many refiners is now to focus on integrated refining-petrochemical sites. As the energy transition takes hold, this is now seen as a strategic imperative.

While the energy transition seeks to change the way that we power the world, we must also look to the bottom of the chain to change the way we produce and use materials.

At current growth rates, by 2050, materials usage is set to double and waste generation will increase by 70%. This unsustainable burden on the planet means its time for a materials transition with the global scale and ambition of the energy transition. What does the materials transition mean for the plastics value chain? How much demand could be displaced? What could this mean for global oil demand, and the petrochemical feedstock sector? And how could it affect refiners’ current focus on integration? All these critical questions and many more will be answered at the upcoming GPCA Webinar Series which delves into the energy and materials transitions, sharing unique insight from Wood Mackenzie’s experts.

Guy Bailey

Head of Applications and Intermediates

Wood Mackenzie

Alan Gelder

VP Refining, Chemicals and Oil Markets – Downstream Global SME

Wood Mackenzie

Matt Chadwick

VP Petrochemicals

Wood Mackenzie

Digital R&D – The lab of the future

Wednesday 11 November | 12pm Dubai time

The chemical industry has a strong track record of innovation, responsible for many breakthroughs that have enabled the modern lifestyle, improved environmental performance created high value jobs. However, it is becoming more and more challenging to extract breakthrough innovations from R&D investments. Digital technologies in R&D can enable a 20 to 40% improvement in key R&D performance indicators such as time-to-market or labor efficiency. More importantly, they’re enabling a radical transformation of business models and enabling organizations to extract untapped potential and value.

GPCA is proud to host a webinar, titled, “Digital R&D – The lab of the future”  which will discuss how a comprehensive digital R&D transformation can help extract more insights through data analytics, improve productivity, customer and employee experience as well as decision-making at early stages of the R&D process that can save millions of dollars.

Dr. Bernd Elser

Managing Director – Global Chemicals Lead


Michael Ulbrich

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Chemicals & Natural Resources


Claus Friedl

Principal Director Industry X Robotics Lead


Adnan Al-Mahmood

IT and Knowledge Manager | Member

GPIC | GPCA R&I Committee

Mastering the balancing act of profitability and sustainability: A special focus on R&I

26 October 2020 | 11 AM Dubai time | Duration: 90 minutes

The chemical industry is at the heart of many global value chains and plays a vital role in the global drive towards sustainability. Whilst the GCC has faced twin shocks of plunging oil prices and reduced demand due to the pandemic, regional chemical and petrochemical companies are finding it extremely challenging to decide on the right investments to generate fruitful returns. To survive and thrive in the post-pandemic world, sound economic decisions and adoption of sustainable strategies will undoubtedly play a crucial role to attain long-term goals that ensure value creation and maximise profitability. To be able to achieve this, the evolving task of research and innovation, including intellectual property management, will play a vital role in the transition to new business models and acceleration towards a profitable and sustainable future.

GPCA is proud to host a webinar that will look at this issue from different angles:  first take a deep dive into current trends and future business outlook for the GCC chemical industry, and second, discuss emphasis of research and innovation as well as intellectual property.

Dr. Hatem Belfadhel

Technology Management Lead, OTC Project Executive


Zayd Alathari

Partner, Head – Intellectual Property

Norton Rose Fulbright

Manuel Asali

Vice President

Nexant Energy and Chemicals Advisory

Oliver Gawad

Senior Director


Value Chain collaboration: A pressing need for the plastics industry

Tuesday 29 September | 3PM Dubai time  

The plastics value chain involves multiple stakeholders, each performing vital functions across most of the business sectors globally and regionally. With innovation being at the heart of the petrochemical and chemical industry, the introduction of new technologies and trends across various groups is driving economic growth and creation of jobs as the industry transitions towards a circular economy. Consumers today are vigilant as they are directly confronted with real and urgent sustainability challenges & the opportunities that lie ahead. A joint spirit of collaboration amongst all the stakeholders in the plastics value chain plays an essential role in driving efficiency and help attain the objective of producing sustainable plastic resources.

Roberto Ribeiro

Managing Director

Asterisk Advisors

Bharath Yalla

Managing Director

Reifenhauser MEA

Waseem Jeenah

Senior R&D Manager, Sustainability MENA


Amandeep Singh Bedi

Head Packaging Circular Economy Solutions


Mohamed Azougagh

Business and Offtake Manager, Africa, Turkey, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent


SOCIO-ECONOMIC impact of COVID-19 on the GCC countries

Tuesday 15 September 2020 | 12PM Dubai time  

The pandemic has touched almost every aspect of human life from social norms to economic activities. Labor markets and future of work are the critical areas impacted by the pandemic. While the short-term outlook with these challenges look bleak, the crisis comes with an opportunity for the GCC region to make major long needed labor market reforms.

Keeping this in mind, GPCA is delighted to host a webinar focused on the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on the GCC countries. Through a detailed research and analysis

Malik Selemankhel

Senior Research Associate


Emre Hatipoglu

Research Fellow


David Havrlant

Research Fellow


PPE and the petrochemicals industry: Recent demand surge and future outlook

Tuesday 8 September 2020 | 3PM Dubai time  

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the global PPE industry that is heavily dependent on outsourced supply chain. The global supply chain has come under tremendous pressure to meet the unprecedented demand for PPE from the healthcare industry. To add to it, the industry is also struggling to get a steady supply of critical raw materials to fulfil this demand. How will this pandemic change the PPE industry’s approach to different end-user industries? How will PPE manufacturing companies seize this tremendous growth opportunity? Will the petrochemicals industry be able to fulfil this demand, or will it be required to tweak its approach?

Through this webinar, the GPCA Webinar Series will strive to answer these critical questions.

Aparajth Balan

Director, Chemicals & Material Practice

Frost & Sullivan, Middle East and North Africa

Sanjiv Bhaskar

Vice-President & Global Head of PPE

Frost & Sullivan

Dr. Brian Balmer

Industry Director, Chemicals & Polymers

Frost & Sullivan

COVID-19 and the Fertilizers industry: Review of recent impacts and projections for 2020-2021

Wednesday 26 August 2020| 12 PM Dubai time  

The world has changed since late January 2020 with the novel coronavirus causing disruption and many economies opting for previously unthinkable solutions. Agricultural markets – including the fertilizer industry – have broadly been exempted from the restrictions, acknowledging its essential role in delivering nutrition to the world during this time. Overall, agriculture has remained strong over the course of the first half of 2020 – keeping fertilizer demand stable and avoiding price collapse. At the same time supply also remained sufficient to meet growing demand and avoiding price spike.

With many economists arguing about the shape of the recovery and undecided between “U” and “V”, IHS Markit opts for a different angle, and suggest that “٨” is a very likely scenario instead when looking at fertilizer markets, still however generating big opportunities for those willing to seek them.

GPCA is proud to present this webinar, which will review the impact of COVID-19 on fertilizer markets to date, delve into the mechanisms that led to said impact, and try and suggest likely paths from here onwards and through to the end of 2021.

Alberto Persona

Principal Analyst, Fertecon

IHS Markit Agribusiness

Elfi Middelbeek

Senior Urea Analyst, Fertecon

IHS Markit Agribusiness

Yuya Pan

Senior Sulphur Analyst, Fertecon

IHS Markit Agribusiness

Georgy Eliseev

Principal Ammonia Analyst, Fertecon

IHS Markit Agribusiness

The impact of China’s rising self-sufficiency on the GCC petrochemicals industry

Petrochemicals producers in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region have long benefited from booming Chinese demand but the coronavirus pandemic has significantly disrupted demand growth for 2020.

But that was the “old normal”. The coronavirus pandemic will result in 2020 demand growth way short of expectations as compared to before the crisis began. Growth is recovering very strongly thanks to China quickly getting on top of its outbreak. But that still leaves lost demand for all the petrochemicals and polymers that China imports for re-export as finished goods. China’s export markets look set to remain depressed for the rest of this year and into 2021 because of the global scale of the pandemic.

China could also reach paraxylene (PX) self-sufficiency by 2023. This would be an enormous shift in global market given that as recently as last year, its PX imports reached 15m tonnes. In polypropylene too self-sufficiency could be only a few years away, but in polyethylene and mono-ethylene glycols big deficits look set to remain for the next decade.

A further challenge is a likely major re-ordering of trade flows as geopolitics pulls China closer to the Middle East and to Southeast Asia and further away from the US.

With China further seeking petrochemicals self-sufficiency, will its current depressed export market push this ambition further into the future?

During this webinar, ICIS will examine the data and analysis behind all these challenges. They will discuss how you can adapt your business models to cope with the China New Normal.

John Richardson

Senior Consultant


Will Beacham

Deputy Editor, ICIS Chemical Business


Middle East petrochemicals competitiveness in low crude oil price environment

The COVID-19 pandemic is exerting significant financial pressure on the petrochemical industry, threatening the growth ambitions of Middle East and global producers. Oil demand collapsed as COVID-19 spread and the long-term impact on downstream petrochemicals remain uncertain. Middle East and global energy firms continue to adjust to lower capex, receding margins and high costs, against a difficult backdrop of the pandemic. During this webinar, Argus Media will discuss Middle East petrochemical competitiveness in low crude oil price environment. It aims to shed light on the below:

Chuck Venezia

Senior Vice-President, Global Petrochemicals

Argus Media

Muhamad Fadhil

VP, Business Development, Petrochemicals

Argus Media

Adapting to a new reality: Embracing the digital world of sales and marketing

COVID-19 established a new normal for interacting with customers – and disrupted many of the traditional go-to-market channels such as physical visits by sales reps, key account managers, etc. So “build back better” is a focal point going forward. This requires maintaining the “goodness” demonstrated during COVID-19, re-establishing pre-COVID-19 good practices, but also by addressing weaknesses in the customer interaction.

This webinar will highlight the shift in digital interactions in customers, the effectiveness of new business models with a focus on sales and marketing, how leaders can convert this adversity into a leading opportunity and key steps to prepare for recovery and the new normal.

Eduardo Neto

Managing Director – Energy Lead Middle East


Dr. Bernd Elser

Managing Director – Global Chemicals Lead


Matt Strawn

Managing Director – Digital Transformation


Paul Bjacek

Resources Research Lead


The Future of Work: Covid-19’s impact and beyond in the chemical industry

Many sectors have been influenced by COVID-19 and the GCC petrochemical industry has not been spared. The industry has seen demand for certain products drop and cost containment measures have become top priority for management teams, including assessments of people costs.

However, while crises force companies to shift their focus towards more tactical topics and short-term impact, they also tend to accelerate change, particularly in terms of the adaptation of technology.  At the same time, people are uncertain and in addition, this particular crisis has had a severe impact on the way lots of us go about our day-to-day work.

This sets the scene for well-managed companies with mature HR practices to use the current downturn as an opportunity to positively impact their employees’ engagement, as well as prepare themselves for the Future of Work.

In this webinar, Mercer and Oliver Wyman will discuss the short-term implications of COVID-19 but concentrate on how companies can pivot towards a more strategic, future focused view by re-organizing their HR activities and priorities.

Nadim Haddad


Oliver Wyman, Dubai

Rob Thissen


Mercer, Dubai

Kursat Tayfur


Mercer, Dubai

Strategy and sustainability through the ESG framework

Investors, governments, consumers, employees, and other stakeholders are paying increasing attention to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Over $30 trillion is managed through ESG investing strategies, and there is ample evidence that the value-at-stake from ESG in terms of revenue growth, cost reductions, employee productivity, “win-win” policy outcomes, and balance sheet resilience is substantial. The petrochemicals industry is at the centre of many ESG trends. Far-sighted leaders embed ESG and sustainability into their overall strategy, unlocking competitive advantage and value as a result.

Richard Verity


McKinsey & Company

Matt Stone


McKinsey & Company

Jane Valls

Executive Director

GCC Board Directors Institute

Masterclass – Chemical Recycling: A novel opportunity for the GCC plastics industry

12PM GST | 10AM CEST | 13:30PM IST | 4PM SGT

Plastics play an integral part in our everyday life. While delivering its several benefits, it is imperative that we realize that it has a significant place in the economy. According to a recent study by GPCA, it is seen that the current recycling rate in the UAE is almost 7%. The opportunities for higher investments in recycling are immense not only from an environmental perspective but also from a job creation and value retention view. As the global plastics demand is expected to triple by 2050, the industry is making strides towards a circular model which offers both rich in economic and environmental value.

To aid this movement, several brand owners are making considerable efforts to increase its use of recycled content to 25% and recyclable plastic packaging to 100% by 2025. Although this is a tremendous opportunity, mechanical recycling comes with its own set of challenges to help the industry achieve these commitments. Transformational technologies also known as chemical recycling which includes methods such as purification, depolymerization or even converts plastics waste into new and useful materials, could help seize the opportunity.

The webinar will shed light on the current status of chemical recycling globally, successful pilot projects and technologies adopted as well as examine its economic feasibility and the value it can bring to the GCC plastics industry. It will further delve into an engaging conversation with global leaders from the plastics value chain to share updates on solutions and opportunities poised by these innovative set of technologies.

Dr. Mark Morgan

Renewables and Specialty Chemicals

IHS Markit

Dr. Norbert Niessner

Director Global R&D/IP

INEOS Styrolution

Dr. Udo Huenger

Vice President – Middle East


John Payne

Group Category Purchasing Director

Berry Global

Impact of COVID-19 on the petrochemicals industry

12PM GST | 10AM CEST | 13:30PM IST | 4PM SGT

COVID-19 is, first and foremost, a global humanitarian challenge.

Thousands of health professionals are heroically battling the virus, putting their own lives at risk. Governments and industry are working together to understand and address the challenge, support victims and their families and communities, and search for treatments and a vaccine.

The pandemic has had a direct and indirect effect on all businesses including the petrochemicals industry. Near-term demand impact is highly differentiated across sectors, with accelerating demand in packaging, but overall down and down sharply in automotive. Impact on supply due to COVID-19 has generally been limited, but the impact on demand is being reflected in utilization rates. More broadly, it is also shaping and potentially accelerating some structural changes globally e.g. use of digital and advanced analytics tools, shift in global supply chains, etc.

This webinar will provide an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on petrochemicals, including a medium term outlook on utilization rates, change in industry value pool, and long term implications of the crisis on the players.

Theo Jan Simons


McKinsey & Company, Cologne

Divy Malik

Associate Partner

McKinsey & Company, Cologne

Ruchin Jain

Associate Partner

McKinsey & Company, Dubai

COVID-19’s impact on chemical supply chains: How to emerge stronger


COVID-19 has created an unprecedented impact on supply chains across the world.  The Chemicals supply chain is no different and has been deeply impacted, both by the supply shock (challenge in availing materials and services at the right time, and fair cost), and the demand shock (reduced need for end-products).   The first reaction in any crisis is to secure supplies.  However, companies that emerge stronger, move beyond supply security and deploy multiple levers to drive value.  These levers range from aggressive cost reduction, deeper supplier collaboration, structural de-risking of the supply chain, digitizing operations, to vertical integration.  In many ways, this is an ideal opportunity for procurement and supply chain leaders to greatly enhance their value-addition to their firms.  Watch our webinar for more insights on how to deal effectively with the COVID-19 situation and emerge stronger from it.

Arun Bruce

Managing Director and Partner

Boston Consulting Group BCG

Marcin Jedrzejewski

Managing Director and Partner

Boston Consulting Group BCG

Benjamin Wahl


Boston Consulting Group BCG

Mayank Saxena

Project Leader

Boston Consulting Group BCG

Trade-related developments and measures affecting chemicals in the context of the COVID-19 crisis

13 May 2020


To address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have adopted a number of exceptional trade and trade-related measures.  While most of these measures concern medical supplies and food, other measures have a broader scope and impact trade in chemicals.  The webinar will start with a brief introduction of trade forecasts according to WTO economists.  It will then present the most common forms of trade-related measures adopted by governments in recent weeks; recall the obligations of governments under WTO rules; and, describe some of the means available to the industry to oppose trade-restrictive measures.   This interactive webinar will also highlight the important role GPCA can play as a trade association in countering these measures.


Charles Julien


White & Case LLP

The Webinar Series are moderated by the expert team at GPCA

Udit Arora

Head of Committees Affairs and Economic Studies (A)


Anida D’Costa

Conference Producer