Chemicals Enter New Frontiers
Industry Innovates and Adjusts to Uncertainty in Energy and Economy


The World Petrochemical Conference & Workshops is the premier gathering for the petrochemical industry, bringing together more than 1,200 senior chemical industry decision-makers from more than 40 countries for networking, unparalleled insight and critical analysis from IHS, your trusted partner in decision-making.

This year's theme will cover the latest key topics affecting the petrochemical industry.

Featured Session: Executive Keynote Panel

IHS welcomes major industry executives to speak on key topics in the petrochemicals market.

Foundation for Petrochemical Success in a Changing Energy Environment
Neil Chapman, President, ExxonMobil Chemical Company

From IHS – Why it’s important: From 2016 to 2019, the question of "where?, what? and by whom?" regarding new petrochemical capacity investments are essentially well defined and what remains are questions around project execution and start-up timing. China, Saudi Arabia and North America are clearly the locations of choice for the current wave of investments. However, addressing those same questions from 2020 and beyond, for the first time in many years, is very unclear. Uncertainty surrounding energy (mainly crude oil), economic growth (slowing in China), and an ever-volatile geo-political environment, along with an evolving use of on-purpose technology to produce petrochemicals, are all contributing to a lack of clarity when asking the questions of who will build what and where, starting in 2020 and beyond.

Trends in the Automotive Industry and Impact on Chemicals
James (Jim) R. Fitterling, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, The Dow Chemical Company

From IHS – Why it's important: The use of chemicals, plastics and advanced polymers in the production of automobiles continues to evolve. From special paints & coatings, to engineering resins and other plastics and polymers that enable substitution for traditional materials supporting light-weighting (fuel efficiency) and other key performance metrics such as manufacturing costs, emissions, reliability, and longevity; the interface between the automotive and chemical industries has become highly dependent. Understanding current and future trends in automobile production is an essential part of strategic planning for many chemical companies.

Logistics Cooperation in the Chemical Industry in Keeping Up with Global Trade Flows
Eelco Hoekstra, Chairman Executive Board and CEO, Royal Vopak

From IHS – Why it's important: A key driver for deciding where to invest in new capacity for many commodity chemicals and plastics, is the ability to secure a source of low-cost energy and an advantaged feedstock. Over time, this has led to a build-up of capacity in low-cost areas of the world, that are not necessarily the areas of high-demand growth. A historical example would be Saudi Arabia and a more recent example would be the United States. In both locations, an acceleration in building new basic chemicals and plastics capacity (driven by low-cost energy and feedstocks) outpaced local demand growth requiring a significant dependence (or an increased dependency versus history for the U.S.) on exports to assure high asset utilization. The ramp-up and timing of logistics infrastructure investments to enable an increased level of trade between major regions has become a critical factor to the success of petrochemical and derivative investment strategies. The ability to manage supply chains efficiently is equally important.

A Wall Street View of the Chemical Industry
Paul A. Smith, Managing Director, Citigroup Global Markets Inc

From IHS – Why it's important: Meeting investor expectations is a primary driver of company and shareholder success. In the chemical industry, the need to invest in new capacity to keep pace with growing demand (and maintain market share) is a challenge that must be balanced against volatility in the chemical market. Decisions around “make versus buy” or “build versus acquire” are important strategic considerations that impact how [or whether] a company decides to fund each new investment. Timing the profit cycle in the chemical industry is a complex challenge that ultimately will impact shareholder returns, each investment decision, and, ultimately, the leadership team. In a new era of activist investors, the challenge has become even more complex as CEO’s work to match market-driven, long-term strategic objectives with shareholder demands for near-term performance improvement.

View our event agenda for information about the full program.