GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS AND THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY: WHAT ABOUT EUROPE?
GRAHAM VAN’T HOFF
PROFESSOR XAVIER SALA-I-MARTIN
WHEN AND WHY DO CHILDREN MAKE STEM CAREER CHOICES?
CLOSING LUNCH SESSION
CREATING SHARED PROSPERITY
PROFESSOR JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ
SUPPLY CHAIN AND LOGISTICS LEADERS BREAKFAST
EPCA President from June 2014 INEOS GROUP
We have a record number of registrations this year. Almost 2800,”said EPCA president Tom Crotty, welcoming delegates to Vienna. “But I’m not sure whether this is a sign of a recovery in the industry, or whether in the face of adversity it’s better to have strength in numbers!” Certainly, the global chemical industry is seeing seismic change, with massive shifts in global demand and in energy supply, Crotty noted. For this reason, the meeting’s presentations would focus on how the European petrochemical sector can remain competitive in the face of these changes and the new challenges they bring.
When EPCA met in Vienna back in 2005, the focus was on the impact of investment in low-cost Middle East production capacity. There were predictions that a tsunami wave of imports would herald the demise of European petrochemicals, the Ineos director recalled. “But it didn’t happen, because China mopped up this production.” However, today’s picture is very different. China has invested heavily in base chemicals production and its economic growth is slowing, which is impacting imports. Furthermore, Crotty continued, the development of shale gas has transformed the competitiveness of the US chemical industry, and now Europe faces a potential wave of imports from two regions benefiting from low-cost production.
At this point, he put the meeting into the hands of moderator Nadine Dereza to introduce the speakers to offer their perspectives on the competitive challenges facing their companies and the industry and how best to respond.