2020 Vision for Chemicals

As we approach year end, it is only natural to ponder the future. I find this exercise helpful every year, using a calendar trigger to assess future strategies and opportunities. A vision for 2020 seems particularly appropriate, especially for rapidly moving digital transformation activities in the chemical industry. Key opportunities for chemical companies revolve around addressing the challenges of sustainability targets, especially regarding circular economy metrics, waste reduction, and the shift from batch to continuous production processes.

Spotlight

Oxea

OXEA is a global manufacturer of oxo intermediates and oxo derivatives, such as alcohols, polyols, carboxylic acids, specialty esters, and amines. These products are used for the production of high-quality coatings, lubricants, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, flavorings and fragrances, printing inks and plastics. OXEA employs more than 1,400 people worldwide. OXEA is part of the Oman Oil Company S.A.O.C. (OOC), a commercial company wholly owned by the Government of Oman. Established in 1996, it pursues investment opportunities in the wider energy sector both inside and outside Oman. OOC plays an important role in the Sultanate's efforts to diversify the economy and to promote domestic and foreign investments.

OTHER ARTICLES
Chemical Technology

Energy portfolio restructuring: Charting the future

Article | June 6, 2022

Consumer needs and preferences in the energy industry are evolving. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns are becoming more acute—inspiring action and shifting value towards low-carbon solutions. These trends accelerated in 2020 and for the first time, market capitalization of leading low-carbon solutions companies began to overtake those of oil and gas (O&G) majors. This is despite the majors laying out energy transition strategies, setting low carbon energy targets and generating higher revenues by an order of magnitude.1 In response to this radically changing landscape, energy companies are charting divergent courses for their futures. Some continue to bet on their ability to generate returns from the O&G value chain. They are focusing on growing margins and lowering carbon intensity. Others are supplementing their capabilities with low-carbon energy solutions or exiting hydrocarbons altogether. This blog focuses on the path forward for the energy majors in Europe who are betting big on diversification.

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Chemical Management

Developing pre-rig solutions that are greener, safer and more efficient

Article | July 13, 2021

MAY 2021 ///Vol 242 No. 5 FEATURES Developing pre-rig solutions that are greener, safer and more efficient There is an increased focus in the oil and gas sector to look further afield to opportunities presented in deepwater locations. Because of this, finding cost-efficient solutions and overcoming the associated challenges that arise below 1,000 ft will be vital for the success of new activity. Jostein Aleksandersen, Neodrill There is an increased focus in the oil and gas sector to look further afield to opportunities presented in deepwater locations. Because of this, finding cost-efficient solutions and overcoming the associated challenges that arise below 1,000 ft will be vital for the success of new activity. All those currently—and those considering—operating in deepwater fields will have an awareness of the general challenges that are presented at such depths. From considerations relating to vast increases in pressure, to the potential for increased drilling time and days spent offshore, there are several hurdles that follow when operating in what are often challenging well environments. In addition, suitable solutions also must support the industry drive to reduce emissions by offering a more carbon-efficient approach.

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Chemical Technology

We can solve the plastic waste crisis but we don’t have much time

Article | August 2, 2022

IN 2015, a global agreement was reached that 8m tonnes a year of plastic waste entering the oceans was unacceptable, according to this September 2020 article in The Conversation. This was the amount of plastic that was estimated to have ended up in the oceans in 2010. “Several international platforms emerged to address the crisis, including Our Ocean, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the G7 Ocean Plastic Charter, among others,” continued the article. But in 2020, an estimated 24m-34m tonnes of plastic waste was forecast to enter our lakes, rivers and oceans. This could reach as much as 90m tonnes in 2030 if the current trajectory continued, said The Conversation. This is the type of information out there, free to view on the internet and accessible via a very quick Google search, representing a major challenges for our industry. I cannot of course verify the numbers. But they are out there. Also out there is a May 2019 article by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which provided a good summary of research into what experts believed was the scale of the waste problem in the developing world.

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Chemical Technology

Ways Your Chemical Company Can Benefit From Digitization

Article | July 20, 2022

The chemical industry is evolving. The marketing, purchasing, and selling of chemicals are being affected by forces in the market, with digitization unquestionably having the most significant impact. Many of the existing digitizing models have likely already been given some thought and then rejected. Chemical businesses are currently conducting pilot projects or starting to gradually scale up their digital initiatives after moving past the proof-of-concept stage. Although this past year brought many difficulties, it also provided an opportunity to revise and re-evaluate foundations moving forward. The Great Reset, as the World Economic Forum has dubbed this time period, is illuminating how the chemical industry might leverage digital technologies to advance. Whether prompted by governmental requirements or consumer desires, chemical businesses' net-zero ambitions will necessitate new expenditures throughout the whole chemical value chain. As a result, back-office costs must be as efficient as possible to free up money to pay for those investments while keeping a profit. Consumer pull The most essential requirements for the success of a new product are a solid understanding of customer needs and wants, the competitive climate, and the makeup of the market. The primary factors that influence the needs of the consumer are price, timing, and quality. Therefore, companies create ongoing procedures and plans with these three factors in mind to better serve client needs and grow their market share by regularly creating new products. Technology pushes The influence of digital technology is constantly growing. One of the foundational elements of 21st-century sources of growth is data-driven innovation. There are numerous items and procedures in the history of innovation that were the result of an accident or careful forethought. Vast volumes of data, or "big data," are being produced and used as a result of the convergence of numerous phenomena, including the growing migration of socio-economic activities on the Internet and the decline in the cost of data collecting, storage, and processing. Large data sets are becoming an essential resource for the economy, supporting the development of new markets, procedures, and goods while also generating substantial competitive advantages. For example, a billion customers can now access broadband at a reasonable price because of the digital world's supporting infrastructure. In addition, cloud computing and the enormous amount of information processing equipment it needs are developing swiftly, and low-cost connected gadgets are being introduced into every industry. Economic benefits The financial gains that can be realized through digitization are genuine. The new digital technologies and businesses have seen an influx of cash, and the public markets are rewarding early adopters with record values. The effects of digitization are spreading swiftly throughout every business. Digitization is the changing of life and work as a result of new technologies, not only their acceptance. Much like earlier technologies, modern emerging technologies like the cloud and big data quickly become part of businesses' operations. Unknown to many, this is having a much more significant impact on the industry that makes these tools as well as on customers. Digitalization that derives from and includes strategic business objectives can greatly benefit chemical firms. Cost savings of roughly 30 to 40 percent can already be made on average today. Additionally, in certain situations, digitalization aided in improving service quality and affected the bottom line by, for instance, enabling new business models. On average, platform-driven digitization projects pay off after 18 months.

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Spotlight

Oxea

OXEA is a global manufacturer of oxo intermediates and oxo derivatives, such as alcohols, polyols, carboxylic acids, specialty esters, and amines. These products are used for the production of high-quality coatings, lubricants, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, flavorings and fragrances, printing inks and plastics. OXEA employs more than 1,400 people worldwide. OXEA is part of the Oman Oil Company S.A.O.C. (OOC), a commercial company wholly owned by the Government of Oman. Established in 1996, it pursues investment opportunities in the wider energy sector both inside and outside Oman. OOC plays an important role in the Sultanate's efforts to diversify the economy and to promote domestic and foreign investments.

Related News

NGOs file suit over transparency of TSCA new chemicals programme

Chemical Watch | March 18, 2020

A coalition of NGOs has sued the US EPA over an alleged lack of transparency in the TSCA new chemicals programme, which "thwart[s] the ability of the public to be informed and to provide input". According to a complaint filed by five environmental nonprofits in federal court today, the EPA has operated its TSCA premanufacture review process in a "black box, denying the public information to which they are legally entitled". Having access to timely information, they contend, is necessary to ensure the members they represent "are able to provide input on the potential risks of new chemicals and the need for protections from those risks prior to completion of EPA’s reviews." And they therefore have asked the court to ensure that the EPA complies with TSCA’s disclosure provisions, including by requiring that it:

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ACC to Trump, governors: Keep chemical industry going during coronavirus crisis

S&P Global | March 18, 2020

The US chemical industry's trade group told President Donald Trump and state governors this week that its sector must maintain operations as the coronavirus outbreak spreads to ensure supply of chemicals needed for disinfectants, plastics for food preservation and medical equipment, and staples like diapers and soap. "The role of chemistry is particularly important today, as chemicals enable countless products that will be needed to support good hygiene and treat those who are infected with the coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead," American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn said in a letter to Trump and governors late Tuesday. Efforts to hinder the spread of coronavirus have included cancellations of major sporting events, concerts, conferences, parades, and other large gatherings, as well as closures of bars and limiting restaurants to takeout and deliveries. Companies have increasingly sent employees to work from their homes, while hospitals, grocery stores, and drug stores work to keep up with demand for care and products.

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How small chemical company leaders are dealing with the coronavirus

C&EN | March 17, 2020

As measures to contain the coronavirus—SARS-CoV-2—sweep across the US, the heads of privately owned chemical and instrument companies find themselves in uncharted territory trying to keep their companies going and their employees safe. C&EN reached out to CEOs of several such firms to learn what they are doing to keep business moving forward. We heard stories about setbacks, as expected supplies didn’t come through, but also small triumphs, as needed safety equipment was finally found. Overall, these leaders are keeping a close eye on supplies while planning for the real possibility that orders will drop in the coming months. Keeping staff healthy and maintaining continuity in customer service are the top priorities at Boron Specialties. “We are a pretty small facility, seven people &on-site&, so as best as we can we’re isolating,” CEO and founder Beth Bosley says.

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NGOs file suit over transparency of TSCA new chemicals programme

Chemical Watch | March 18, 2020

A coalition of NGOs has sued the US EPA over an alleged lack of transparency in the TSCA new chemicals programme, which "thwart[s] the ability of the public to be informed and to provide input". According to a complaint filed by five environmental nonprofits in federal court today, the EPA has operated its TSCA premanufacture review process in a "black box, denying the public information to which they are legally entitled". Having access to timely information, they contend, is necessary to ensure the members they represent "are able to provide input on the potential risks of new chemicals and the need for protections from those risks prior to completion of EPA’s reviews." And they therefore have asked the court to ensure that the EPA complies with TSCA’s disclosure provisions, including by requiring that it:

Read More

ACC to Trump, governors: Keep chemical industry going during coronavirus crisis

S&P Global | March 18, 2020

The US chemical industry's trade group told President Donald Trump and state governors this week that its sector must maintain operations as the coronavirus outbreak spreads to ensure supply of chemicals needed for disinfectants, plastics for food preservation and medical equipment, and staples like diapers and soap. "The role of chemistry is particularly important today, as chemicals enable countless products that will be needed to support good hygiene and treat those who are infected with the coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead," American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn said in a letter to Trump and governors late Tuesday. Efforts to hinder the spread of coronavirus have included cancellations of major sporting events, concerts, conferences, parades, and other large gatherings, as well as closures of bars and limiting restaurants to takeout and deliveries. Companies have increasingly sent employees to work from their homes, while hospitals, grocery stores, and drug stores work to keep up with demand for care and products.

Read More

How small chemical company leaders are dealing with the coronavirus

C&EN | March 17, 2020

As measures to contain the coronavirus—SARS-CoV-2—sweep across the US, the heads of privately owned chemical and instrument companies find themselves in uncharted territory trying to keep their companies going and their employees safe. C&EN reached out to CEOs of several such firms to learn what they are doing to keep business moving forward. We heard stories about setbacks, as expected supplies didn’t come through, but also small triumphs, as needed safety equipment was finally found. Overall, these leaders are keeping a close eye on supplies while planning for the real possibility that orders will drop in the coming months. Keeping staff healthy and maintaining continuity in customer service are the top priorities at Boron Specialties. “We are a pretty small facility, seven people &on-site&, so as best as we can we’re isolating,” CEO and founder Beth Bosley says.

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