The company utilises advanced technologies to minimise impact on environment and meet rapidly increasing market demands
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth, asset integration and scale, focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company, with a purpose to deliver a sustainable future for the world through our materials science expertise and collaboration with our partners. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer care. Dow operates 106 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people.
Ahmed Dualeh, President, DOW UAE, spoke to The Zone about the petrochemicals industry in the region and also highlighted the latest technology and innovative solutions adopted by DOW to meet the demands of the market and ensure sustainable development.
What are the factors behind petro-chemicals growth in the UAE?
In recent years, the UAE has become a pioneer in the field of petrochemicals. While the pandemic hampered the growth of the region’s industries, petrochemical demand remained strong and continued to grow. A multitude of reasons have contributed to the local industry’s success, including the UAE’s advantageous gas feedstock, which it transforms into petrochemicals and plastics before exporting to growing markets. The UAE has boosted production of chemicals and plastics to satisfy their increasing regional and worldwide demand across many industries, which is rising due to the growing population and GDP expansion. During the pandemic, de- mand for medical plastics increased, boosting the petrochemicals industry even more.
It is now widely accepted that up until 2030, petrochemicals will be the primary drivers of future oil demand growth, with predictions that the industry will be able to restore oil demand to pre-pandemic levels. In line with these trends, the UAE is increasing its petrochemical production, generating hopes for future petrochemical projects. In a for- ward-thinking move, UAE oil producers are focusing on integrating large-scale refineries, including petrochemical facilities.
How will the UAE be able to meet the rise in demand for petrochemicals?
The UAE intends to meet rising petrochemical demand by increasing petrochemical production through downstream projects. National oil and petrochemical firms are partnering with global oil corporations in high-profile and significant deals in order to attract investments in the downstream industry. In order to satisfy rising demand in the UAE and the region, such firms are setting high targets of production. With high demand across areas such as construction, infrastructure, and consumer goods, the UAE continues to enjoy exceptional growth. Demand is being fuelled by this growth, and it will continue to do so.
How will technology address issues of the oil and gas industry?
The oil and gas industry continues to evolve and innovate by utilizing technological innovations and advancements to adapt to changing situations. The most pressing problem faced by the industry today is developing and deploying more efficient and cleaner technologies to minimise carbon emissions in the environment. As a result of technological advancements, the industry will be able to deliver fuels while also making product consumption more efficient, safer, and cleaner. In the future, we may see more sustainable technology used in the sector, particularly as Middle Eastern countries, including OPEC states, pursue their economic diversification strategies.
Through optimisation and automation, technology has the ability to enhance performance across the upstream oil and gas value chain. Oil and gas companies can save on capital ex- penditure and operational costs by investing in technology. To create value and preserve a competitive advantage, businesses will continue to use digital transformation strategies such as cloud computing, AI, and robotics.
In what areas of your business have you implemented smart technology?
From innovation to product development, and from customer experience to supply chain management, smart technology is a key enabler across the value chain in the petrochemical sector. We, at Dow, have always been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of innovation through digitalisation. We integrate AI and predictive technology into all aspects of our company to transform how we operate and how our customers interact with us. We’re making our processes smarter and more cost-effective, and are developing new capabilities to accelerate innovation, differentiate ourselves faster, and provide a better client experience. Through faster response times and fewer trials, the entire product development process is speeded up, resulting in a shorter time to market.
What are your expansion plans for the future, and what innovative solutions have you introduced so far?
Dow has continued to pursue expansion plans, undertaking a number of capacity expansion projects to support the development of its client solutions division. To meet rising demand, the company is increasing production in several of its key markets across the globe. We have also constantly been supported by Jafza authorities, who have supported our plans and have assisted us to formulate the processes that will be needed for storage and transportation of large volumes of chemicals, much of which need special handling.
Dow is also working on circular and sustainable solutions, announced new sustainability goals such as carbon neutrality by 2050 and a circular economy for plastics. We also saw three times increase in product sales based on renewable bio-based feedstocks in 2020 year-on-year, and released post-consumer recycled plastic resins for a variety of applications globally. In order to minimize CO2 emissions and electrify ethylene steam crackers, the firm is accelerating investments in process technology. These are only a few of Dow’s efforts to be socially responsible. Our annual ESG report outlines all of our efforts to ensure that we continue to pursue the most innovative and sustainable solutions possible.