Petroleum Economist: ‘Chemicals could well be oil’s finest hour’

In the media
01 November 2021 Riyadh, KSA
Petroleum Economist
  • Yazeed Alhumied, Deputy Governor of PIF, describes how crude is transitioning from its primary use in transportation to chemicals.
  • Yousef Al-Benyan, CEO of Sabic, on what's next following the 2020 Saudi Aramco deal.

Given the rise of electric vehicles, many people have questioned oil's long-term future. But hydrocarbons are about more than just transport – and, going forward, chemicals are expected to increasingly drive demand. This was a key takeaway of a Petroleum Economist interview with Yazeed Alhumied, Deputy Governor of PIF and Head of its MENA investments division, and Yousef Al-Benyan, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Saudi chemicals heavyweight Sabic.

The interview was published following Saudi Aramco's $69.1bn deal, completed in June 2020, to acquire a 70% share of Sabic from PIF, in what was one of the year's biggest corporate transactions.

Expanding on what this means for the future of hydrocarbons, Al-Benyan underlined the importance of chemicals as the third pillar of Saudi Arabia's industrialization strategy. “While we acknowledge that oil is very cyclical in nature and the Kingdom must reduce its direct dependence on oil, the chemicals industry, as a natural extension of the hydrocarbons chain, is less cyclical, adds more value to oil, and generates more sustainable jobs," he said. “Going forward, chemicals are expected to be a key growth driver for global oil demand."

Or as Alhumied put it: “Never underestimate the resilience and potential of energy. Chemicals could well be oil's finest hour."

Read the full interview here.

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