By Saad al-Kuwari
· Comprehensive integration in the chain of specialised and micro-chemical and petrochemical industries and petroleum additives in coordination between the energy, industry, private sector and free zones.
· The National Industrial Transformation Program and alignment with sustainable national economic growth and the existence of an industrial zone for specialised and transformational chemical industries to attract investment in the private sector.
This article is a continuation of the previous article, which talked about the importance of the petrochemical industry, specialised chemicals and mining, and the future growth rate of the products of this industry, especially the specialised ones, in Qatar and around the world.
The chemical, petrochemical and mining industries are an essential part of the diversified economy thinking and in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Therefore, planning is required to double the industrial value by embarking on a plan and strategy for the development of the chemical and transformative industries and the basic and specialised industries that will stimulate industrial growth in various fields, making it the main engine for the development of the chemical, petrochemical, specialty and mining industries sector in Qatar.
In addition, companies in the sector (of these industries) will have the opportunity to rely on an integrated ecosystem that includes – but not limited to – universities, research and development centers, suppliers, infrastructure, logistics services, the port of export and other common services.
Development of an industrial database:
Developing this base from the current industry reality in the petrochemicals, chemicals, mining, oils and associated future projects 2030.
The existence of this comprehensive base for all current and future projects and products of these projects required for the local market and export, mean investors can refer to them in economic feasibility studies and project implementation to start detailed studies of the project and marketing and their implementation.
This is in addition to encouraging foreign investors through a comprehensive and clear plan to invest in the local or foreign market in partnership with the private sector and provide future opportunities for investors in this industry and through the study conducted by Qatar International Trading.
These projects will raise the growth rate by 2.1% annually through the optimum utilisation of natural resources, for example, liquefied petroleum gas, ethane, naphtha and methane gas.
What are the specialty chemicals?
Specialty chemicals are defined as a group of chemicals of high value and low volume that are used in the final applications of products. This type of chemical is produced to meet strict performance standards as it is used in the manufacture of a wide range of applications including the agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors, building materials, chemical processing, food industry, household products, coatings and paper industry. And transportation vehicle applications.
Specialty chemicals include, for example, advanced polymers, plastic additives, reaction catalysts, advanced lubricants, oil and gas field chemicals, mining, building materials, ceramics, electronic materials, cleaning materials, and dyes, textile, food additives and pesticides.
Specialty chemicals can be classified according to their ingredients or applications. On the basis of ingredients, there are two classes, namely fine materials and performance materials. Fine materials are manufacturing products that are used as feedstocks in the production of various end products, from medicines to flavors and from agrochemicals to detergents.
These products have low to medium sales volume but are more expensive compared to basic or commodity chemicals. These products are also known for their physical and chemical properties.
Comparison of basic and specialised chemicals by market value:
Specialised chemicals are distinguished by what they “do” and not by what “they”. In general, the specialty chemicals industry is driven by knowledge and technology, as the price of raw materials represents a small percentage of the production cost compared to basic chemicals, and their price is usually at least $2,500 per ton. Factors for industry success include understanding customer needs, close relationship with them, and developing the product and its applications to meet demand at a reasonable price-to-performance ratio.
While the basic chemicals industry produces huge quantities of products to meet global demand, specialty chemical plants are smaller and batch-operated, where the production takes place in sequential steps in chronological order and divided into batches. The batch of raw material enters a process or unit, and then chemical treatment takes place, leaving the product out and excluding everything else. Production can be repeated in batches repeatedly with new batches of raw materials.
It is preferable to allocate a “specialised industrial area” near the port of exports and the local distribution network, as is the case with most major and developed industrial countries.
Global specialty chemicals market:
Specialised chemicals account for about 20% of the global chemical industry, which in turn was valued at $4.4 trillion in 2019.The Asia-Pacific region is the largest market for specialty chemicals in the world and the fastest growing region, followed by North America in terms of value, then Europe.
China, India and Brazil allocate enormous potential for expanding production processes and developing specialised and environmentally friendly chemicals, and it is expected that global demand for specialty chemicals will grow annually by about 6.8% between 2025 and 2020, bringing the total value to about $820 billion.
The importance of innovation and technology:
The priorities of technology for specialty chemicals are to rely heavily on innovation, developing new technologies or establishing partnerships, and acquiring technologies that will enrich existing products and serve future development plans.
The innovation process can include developing a new chemical molecule that provides a specific solution or improving manufacturing efficiency using a new and unique chemical reaction. The measure of innovation is the efficiency of reducing manufacturing waste, being safer in the process, better economics of production, or improving the specifications of the final product.
It should be noted that the process of manufacturing specialty chemicals is often accompanied by the establishment of application centers concerned with the development of industrial products and applications, and petrochemical companies in Qatar must do so.
The development of polycarbonate research that is used in the manufacture of shatter-resistant windows and medical lenses, and new industries with high added value of amines, ethoxylates and phenols.
It is also preferable to use the ‘taffeta’ product in addition to gas as feedstock and establish factories for the production of isocyanates, amines, polyurethane and glycol.
These chemicals have the advantage of their high prices compared to basic products, as they will be in smaller quantities and are directed to domestic consumption and the surplus for export instead of exporting basic products and also making a strategic investment partnership with companies in China and India.
And others, through the export of feedstocks to these countries and the participation of petrochemical companies to reduce a high financial return instead of exporting basic petrochemical products and optimising hydrocarbon and petrochemical exports.
Saad Al Kuwari