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Thu 5 Nov 2009 04:00 AM

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The secret of know-how

To be successful in any domain, you need three components: Willpower, resources, and perhaps most importantly, the know-how.

To be successful in any domain, you need three components: Willpower, resources, and perhaps most importantly, the know-how.

When applying these components to the petrochemicals sector, it becomes apparent that the Middle East has two of them in abundance. There is a strong will from governments to promote and improve the sector, led mainly by the fact that the industry drives employment and is a valuable asset to a country’s economy.

The resources are also present in the Middle East. Feedstock is the lifeblood of the industry – without feedstock, there is no petrochemicals sector; it is as simple as that. Luckily in the Middle East there is no shortage in supply.

An absence of knowledge means a lack of technology, which is also a vital component. However, technology can be imported and licenses can be bought. It’s a win-win partnership and all involved prosper - unless the means to utilise this technology is not present.

And this leads us to the final piece in the jigsaw – the crucial and often elusive know-how. The know-how is the art of mixing the other components, and is perhaps the glue that binds them all to achieve the bottom line of any business, sector or country: financial and sustainable success.

One of the most prevalent methods of obtaining this know-how is to establish research and development centres in the region. Another is to work extensively with industry leaders, in an attempt to move the region from an energy export based economy, to a knowledge-based economy, as it goes with the old saying “Knowledge is power.”

The downstream industry in the Middle East is still developing. Some people may say the sector is already successful – and my reply would be simple. Yes it is a successful industry, but what we need is success not based on low feedstock subsidies. When this happens, through mastering the know-how of the sector, the Middle East petrochemicals industry can truly call itself a success.Abdelghani Henni is the editor of Petrochemicals Middle East.

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