How is EQUATE's “Partners in Success" motto reflected in your business operations?
Our slogan came from the clearly strong belief that the partnership between our shareholders is mutually beneficial and we would like all parties to profit from the agreements we enter into. Our customers are also a key part of our business model, and we share their success, too. We are trying to create the feeling among our staff that each of us is a partner, and by creating this sense of ownership within the organization we are improving our productivity. We also treat our suppliers and contractors as our partners, because we know that if they do not deliver, then we do not succeed. We work with them, and that sustainable partnership is built into our model. In addition, our workforce represents the most important “Partners in Success" in all elements relevant to EQUATE.
What kind of growth have you seen in the Kuwaiti petrochemicals industry, and what have been some of the major developments in recent years?
Locally, there is limited growth in the petrochemical industry at present, and we are not growing at the same pace as other countries in this region. In fact, we are falling behind. This is one of the challenges in Kuwait. We know the field is limited, but that should encourage us to be more innovative in finding ways to create partnerships. At the same time, while growth is limited, there are still opportunities and media outlets have been highlighting plans by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation & Subsidiaries for mega ventures locally and globally. These include the integrated refinery-petrochemical projects of Olefins III and Aromatics II in Kuwait. We, as EQUATE, want and can definitely contribute an overall added value into the whole industry in Kuwait and beyond. With its world-class expertise, state-of-the-art technology, global presence, and, most important of all, highly qualified human resources in all relevant fields, EQUATE has the ability to be a partner in any part of the world.
As EQUATE is an international joint venture between Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Boubyan Petrochemical Company (BPC), and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC), how does you affiliation with these entities allow you to operate at a high level and maintain international standards?
As we are 42.5% owned by Dow, a major part of our operations is influenced by this fact. Our ownership is divided among these different entities, with the government as our partner as well through the state-owned PIC with 42.5%, and we are generating a powerful formula through the Kuwaiti private sector with BPC and QPIC. The support of the government is needed especially on the utilities side. We have the right technology base, the private sector's sense of added-value creation, and notable employment and career opportunities. When you combine all of these elements together and make them work, the results are positive on all fronts. This is what differentiates EQUATE in the market. We have Kuwaitis applying world-class standards because of our global presence, which makes us well positioned to develop valuable, skilled Kuwaitis capable of working anywhere.
What are some of your key projects that you expect to be of high impact?
We are pursuing the ongoing debottlenecking project at our polyethylene (PE) plant, which hopefully will be completed during 2016. Our current capacity of polyethylene is 825,000 tpy, and we are working to reach nearly 1 million tpy once the project is completed. The project will give us an additional capability of over 150 bpd, depending upon available feed. At the very least we are hoping for at least half of this. We will be in a good position by the middle of next year to deliver the products. We are also focused on environmental projects that target the reduction of carbon emissions in our industrial operations by re-using CO2. Protecting the environment is one of our strategic objectives and part of our goal to achieve further sustainability within and outside Kuwait. More than ever, we see companies moving away from using CO2-derived fossil fuel, and instead moving toward more environmentally friendly CO2produced from capturing off-gas that would otherwise go into the atmosphere. As we are focused on making environmentally sound business decisions, we have launched two CO2 recovery projects, which are the first of their kind in Kuwait. In addition, we have also launched the Middle East's first plant water recycling project.
What are your main goals and ambitions for the coming three to five years, and what are your plans for growing EQUATE's international reputation?
Our approach is based on EQUATE 2020 Strategy that includes three main stages. The first focuses on qualifying relevant human resources, the second concentrates on preparing to enter the international scene, and the third aims at venturing into the global arena. The first phase is all about creating as much added value from current facilities, while the second and third are all about giving EQUATE a greater global presence. All stages are based on highly qualified human resources, especially Kuwaitis, through being more specialized, as well as the ideal utilization of technology within an innovative, creative, and sustainable work environment. We know that 2015 is a critical year for us, as we are starting our second phase of growth.
What are your expectations for the company and for Kuwait's petrochemicals industry in 2016?
For the petrochemical industry, 2016 is a year of gradual recovery from the dip it experienced earlier, which started toward the end of 2014, although certain challenges still need to be addressed. We positioned EQUATE to be resilient and to maintain the ability to work in different environments and pursue opportunities in the face of prevailing challenges. The petrochemical industry will be in a better position in 2016, and the market will be more attractive. Our productivity will increase as we will hopefully finalize our PE debottlenecking project and increase our overall production. All of this, however, is contingent on having a sufficient volume of feedstock for our operations. We are seeking to bring extra value to the market at the latest by 2H2016.