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Aramco looking to expand global footprint in chemicals

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser was recognised by his peers in the global chemical industry as he was presented The Chemists’ Club 2020 Kavaler Award, sponsored by ICIS.

Speaking at the virtual event, Nasser commented on the challenges of 2020, his belief in a bright future for the chemical and petroleum industries, and his expectation that petrochemicals will represent over half of the growth in global oil demand over the next decade.

Dean Curtis, President and CEO of ICIS, said that Aramco's "global ambitions and investments in the chemical industry will create waves in the years to come. Being commended by your peers is one of the highest accolades and ICIS is proud to be involved in recognising success in the chemical industry. It is this community participation that makes our industry and the Kavaler Award so unique."

With the US$69 billion acquisition of SABIC in June and investments in oil-to-chemicals technology, Aramco has positioned itself for downstream growth. “Although we are seeing a number of companies announcing global refinery rationalisations or shutdowns - in Europe, the US and at some scale in Asia - we still see opportunities in certain geographies,” said the Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser.

“We expect more than half the world’s new refining capacity that will come on stream in the next 8-10 years will be in Asia, and 70-80% of that will be focused mainly on plastics,” he added.

Nasser called Aramco’s acquisition of SABIC earlier this year “transformational”, enabling Aramco to deliver on its chemical strategy. “If you combine our upstream strength and refining capacity of more than 5 million bpd with SABIC’s chemicals asset base and global presence, it has made us one of the top global chemical players,” said Nasser.

As for further mergers and acquisitions, Aramco remains focused on the integration of SABIC while keeping an eye out for future deals. “We are not ruling out any good opportunities that come our way in the future, and we continue to evaluate a number of opportunities in major growth markets like China and India as part of our long-term strategy,” said Nasser.

On the transition towards renewable energy, Nasser recognises that new energy sources will play an important role in creating a sustainable energy future.

“However, we also believe that the global energy transition will be gradual. COVID-19 has prompted a lot of debate and discussion that the sun has set on the oil and gas industry - that oil demand has peaked or that this is close to happening. But in my view, the reality is that conventional and new energy sources will run in parallel for many decades to come,” said Nasser.

Seeing a strong future for Aramco, Nasser said: “We remain firm on our long-term forecasts on creating value through growth and investment.” Although the drop in oil demand in April 2020 created the worst month for the oil industry, Nasser sees “light at the end of the tunnel” and predicts good recovery of markets in the second half of 2021. “The oil and gas industry has a key role to play in the road to lower emissions. In the future, oil will be produced with much lower emissions and I see a bright future for the petroleum industry. This award is not just for me, but a recognition of the innovation and resilience of all Aramco employees,” concluded Nasser.

The Chemists’ Club Kavaler Award, sponsored by ICIS and in association with The Valence Group of Piper Sandler is awarded each year to a senior executive recognised for outstanding achievement, as voted on by his/her peers in the ICIS Top 40 Power Players: a global ranking of the leaders making the greatest positive impact on their companies and the chemical industry.

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