What have been the main accomplishments of PIC over the past year?
2017 was a challenging and exciting year for PIC with respect to the progress of the company's strategic projects and the development of the Petrochemical 2040 Strategy, which has been developed and approved in compliance with the long-term strategy of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). Moreover, we have been successful in our ambition to achieve new production records. Since commissioning, the highest production of our urea plants reached 1,155,480 tons, equivalent to 114% of our target. PIC has worked on other existing opportunities in Kuwait and abroad as well to implement green field capital projects and to acquire equity stakes in reputed international companies. We signed a front-end engineering design (FEED) contract with a leading engineering consultant for Canada Kuwait Petrochemical Corporation (CKPC), and the work is now in progress. CKPC is a 50-50 joint venture between Canada-based Pembina Pipeline and PIC for an integrated propylene and polypropylene plant in Alberta. In additon, PIC signed an MoU with a leading Asian petrochemical company to enter the derivatives business. Our due diligence activities to acquire equity stakes in petrochemical plants in North America and Asia are in progress. We are happy that in 2017 there were no lost-time incidents or environment incidents in our fertilizer plant operations. In fact, the fertilizer plants have been running with no major turn-around obstacles for the last three years. As per the KPC Strategic Directions, the Fertilizer Exit Plan has been approved and is currently being implemented. Finally, PIC continues to implement the Six Sigma methodology to enhance business processes, and 48 projects were successfully completed in 2017.
How does PIC add value to Kuwait's natural resources?
PIC plays a significant role by adding value to Kuwait's hydrocarbons. We are involved in the Al-Zour Integration Project, which will produce 1,400kg tons per annum (kta) of paraxylene and 940kta of polypropylene. The project is in the FEED phase, and licenses for both the refinery and petrochemical part have been awarded. Other projects that are illustrative of our contribution are the Local Refining Project, for which the feasibility study has commenced, and the Ethane Cracker Project (Olefins IV), for which the feasibility study will commence shortly. In addition to the national goal of adding value to the country's natural resources, we also play an important role in another key national objective. PIC has exceeded the Kuwaitization target set by KPC, and is at the forefront of hiring locals and creating new employment opportunities for young Kuwaitis.
What is your outlook for 2018?
As per the Petrochemical 2040 Strategy, PIC's aspiration is to achieve a leadership position with downstream extension into high-value petrochemical businesses, while ensuring integration with KPC's activities both domestically and internationally. PIC is looking forward to working with all our customers and strategic partners to contribute to the expansion and diversification of the Kuwaiti economy. In 2018, we expect to see important progress with our key projects. The transformation from the fertilizers business to operating polypropylene and paraxylene plants will be an important development, and we expect to witness the completion of the FEED work for CKPC in Canada, and the subsequent commencement engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) phase. Moreover, significant construction activities are to be completed for the US Gulf Coast project producing ethylene glycol. The feasibility studies for Olefins IV and expansion in local refining capacity will be completed, and PIC will finalize multiple deals for petrochemicals and derivatives in Asia and North America. Also, PIC will establish a sales office in Vietnam that will cover the Southeast Asia region. Finally, PIC will continue to explore new opportunities inside and outside Kuwait as per the Petrochemical 2040 Strategy.