Specialised, competitive chemical industry can strengthen national GDP
September 23 2020 12:23 AM
Saad Abdulla al-Kuwari

By Saad al-Kuwari

• Prospects for the application of specialised chemical industry clusters and its impact on the industrial localisation in Qatar

• Developing a promising and competitive specialised and complementary chemical industry and increasing its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP)

Separating industry from the energy umbrella and joining it with trade may be a step in developing a specialised industry through a comprehensive integration between the two sectors and avoiding duplication.
Whereas, the energy sector has not provided anything tangible that could be mentioned to serve and develop the transformative or specialised and complementary chemical industry, as it was provided to the basic petrochemical industry, chemical fertilisers and the mining industry in the past decades.
Its focus was on the oil and gas industry, gas-to-liquids, refineries, and projects related to hydrocarbon resources from marine transportation and storage, and other projects with a strategic partnership.
So today, we look forward to the era of industrial development with its transformative and specialised parts underneath, although I believe it is necessary to create a separate independent entity for this industry.
For example, the local exploitation of methane, ethane, liquefied petroleum gas, naphtha, or other products that can be exploited as feedstock for specialised chemical projects and supplementary by optimising the hydrocarbon values (feedstock). As an expert in oil, gas, petrochemical and mining industries, I am not shy, nor am I interested in the extractive industry part.
All the crude oil or gas industry we have is an extractive industry, as we produce it from wells and send it in its raw form to ports of exports without any added value on the crude products.
When refined, there is an additional value, or when these resources are used to produce basic petrochemical or intermediate products, mining, petroleum additives, or mining, the product value increases.
This also applies to natural gas extraction, liquefaction, storage and export, but when converting it into petroleum liquids and petroleum derivatives, the returns are large.
What we care about (at this stage) is the development of the specialised and complementary chemical industry, as this delicate and rapidly developing industry is a reservoir and a repository of added value, which makes our production value competitive and give it a position and reputation in the global market.
It is noticeable today that we are somewhat behind in this type of specialised industry.
For example, planning and operating an industrial complex consisting of several factories (industrial small scale specialised) to produce isocyanates, amines, polyurethane, ether glycol and other products that can be used in the manufacture of intermediate products produced for the first time.
In Qatar, these industrial clusters are close to the export ports, vital facilities and logistical services.
Despite the abundance of our production in petrochemicals, fertilisers and other basic products and our superiority in the export side, however, liquefied natural gas and crude oil are still the pillar of our production and exports and the source of our access to hard currency with which we import everything we need, which of course determines our balance of trade – deficit or surplus.
If commodity prices fall, the balance is obviously in deficit against the rest of the world.
And certainly, the development of these specialised, fine and fine chemical industries will have an effective impact on economic growth.
In the end, the creation of a database to measure the size of the production gap for the country in all industrial, chemical and petrochemical activities, mining, petroleum and chemical additives, specialised and complementary, and other projects, will help better gauge the detailed indicators of local production, local consumption, and imports classified according to the two possible specialised chemical industrial products related to the hydrocarbon sector- private and joint stock companies in this field in general, and in front of business leaders in Qatar in particular.

* Saad Abdulla al-Kuwari graduated in Chemical Engineering from Qatar University and obtained an MBA in Oil & Gas from Liverpool University. He was appointed CEO of Tasweeq in 2010. During his career, he has occupied several key positions in refining projects and processing, oil, gas and refined products, storage tanks and export terminals operation. He also has considerable experience in the field of Gas Processing Operations. He was also manager of Gas, Oil Petrochemical Marketing in QP Marketing Directorate for several years.

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