Petrochemical sector is thriving as much as oil and gas industry

Oct 22, 2004 02:00 AM

Unknown to many, petrochemical is a thriving industry which is similar to the more glamorous sectors such as oil and gas. According to the latest statistics, the global petrochemical market is estimated at $ 2 tn. Asia alone represents about one-third of the total.
The global annual compounded growth rate (CAGR) is about 2.8 % but many believe that the CAGR in Asia-Pacific is even higher, driven by China's strong economic growth spurred by aggressive manufacturing activities -- activities that utilise, among others, petrochemical products.

Optimal group's CEO James Ray Fitterling said Malaysia, rich in natural resources, should grab these opportunities by expanding into petrochemical related investments, particularly with China earmarked to be the net importer of petrochemicals over the next 20 years.
"Based on the range of petrochemical products developed by major players in Malaysia, we are in a good spot to fully tap the petrochemical business with government support and key decisionsmade on the right platform for growth," he said.

Fitterling said the petrochemical industry typically grew at 1.4 times the gross domestic product (GDP) rate on a global basis. "For Asia-Pacific, we expect the growth to be higher than the global rates," he added.
For Malaysia, he said, the economy was estimated to grow by 6.5 %, which would translate into 8.5 % or 9 % growth in the petrochemical industry. Fitterling, who has been in the petrochemical industry for the past 20 years, said: "Many people do not realise that petrochemicals are the enabler for almost all technologies."

He said the Optimal group catered to a wide range of industries such as personal care products, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas processing, brake fluids, fibreglass, synthetic lubricants and electronics. Fitterling said Optimal had secured a major three-year contract with Procter & Gamble to supply alcohol ethoxylates from its petrochemical site in Kertih to P&G Chemicals to meet the growing demand from the latter's customers in Asia.
"Alcohol ethoxylates is a new product offered by Optimal Chemicals (M) and is commonly used in consumer products like personal care and household items. Its environment-friendly attributes are gaining wider acceptance in the industry, which makes it a bright growth area for Optimal Chemicals in the Asia-Pacific," he said.

Source: Star Publications
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