Opinion

Americas Chemical Conference recap

We're looking forward to a revitalised North American chemical industry after the last decade's closures

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On November 20, we held our 4th Annual Americas Chemical Conference in Houston. The conference was attended by chemical producers/consumers, midstream companies, oil refiners, logistics and storage providers, engineering firms, and utility companies. Keynote speakers from Nova (Naushad Jamani – SVP Olefins & Feedstock) and Braskem (Chris Bland – VP of Project Delta) told the attendees about their strategic and innovative approaches toward investing in shale gas based chemicals in North America and then joined a lively panel session to talk about chemical industry's future opportunities and risks.

The audience raised asked of good questions during the panel session. One that stands out for me is "What can the chemical industry do to improve its public perception as a contributor to sustainability and environmental stewardship?" With more negative stories than positive stories in the press, the industry needs to focus on positive messaging. The panel participants brought up how plastics and chemicals are critical for needs like preventing food spoilage, improving crop yields and developing medical advances. Plastics can also be recycled with the proper collection systems, much like aluminium, paper and glass. 

Our upstream experts spoke about the upside and downside sensitivities to the outlook for crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices. Our chemical experts then spoke about the fundamentals that are driving the future markets for ethylene, propylene, polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene glycol, vinyls, butadiene, benzene and styrene.

The overall feeling of the conference was excited about the prospects for the revitalised North American chemical industry during this decade, after experiencing closures and rationalization during the last decade. The audience left the conference with a wealth of information and analysis about the chemical industry and was rewarded with a networking cocktail reception to finish the day. We look forward to seeing you there next year!