The worldwide oil refining industry currently faces strong challenges related to uncertainties about future feedstock and characteristics of oil products. Refiners are faced with a dynamic business environment. While crude prices are volatile, high-sulphur crudes are readily available.
There is a high demand for lighter products and emissions standards are tightening up. Cutting-edge technologies are being introduced into refineries. Such technologies help refiners to raise capacities, take advantage of opportunity crudes and meet stringent product specifications.
The 21st century has seen a huge shift from the West to the East in the Petrochemicals business, with Middle East emerging as a global production hub with an advantage of low cost feedstock. This trend is likely to also affect the global petrochemical industry with emergence of National Chemicals and Oil Companies as global players having to realign by moving eastwards through partnerships or strategic alliances to be near the consumption centers to catch up with Asia’s Petrochemical boom.
However, as regional petrochemicals development continues, the industry will face significant challenges relating to energy and feedstock availability and to climate change, particularly carbon dioxide emissions.