The UAE Singapore Business Council (UAESBC) organised our annual flagship event on Oil, Petrochemical and Logistics (OPL) via webinar on Tuesday, 18 th August. It was a showcase event involving industry leaders in this significant sector of the UAE economy. Due to the COVID-19 social distancing measures, the event this year was presented in a webinar format which allowed presentations of experts based both in Singapore and the UAE. The topical theme for the webinar was “Oil, Petrochemical and Logistics: Challenges in the COVID-19 Era”.
The event was graced by the attendance of Emirati and Singaporean dignitaries including Guest of Honour, Dr Tan See Leng, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Trade & Industry and Manpower who gave the Opening Address. In his Address, Dr Tan shared that even though “the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly shaken the world economy…There are, however, some pockets of optimism” that have reinforced Singapore-UAE bilateral ties despite these uncertain times which include the signings of the OPEC+ agreement in April and the UAE-Singapore Joint Ministerial Statement on Supply Chain Connectivity in May. Prior to the webinar, Dr Tan had a separate session with the presenters and the President of the UAESBC.
His Excellency Mohamed Salem Al Falahi, Chargé d'Affaires for the UAE Embassy in Singapore, represented the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) at the webinar. In his Welcome Address, His Excellency emphasised the importance of the Asian market to the UAE Oil Economy by stating that out of the 2.3 million barrels of oil per day exported by UAE in 2018, 98% of which were targeted to Asia.
The first presenter at the event was, Mr Mirco Neri, the Director for GM Products for First Abu Dhabi Bank, UAE’s biggest bank and one of the world’s largest financial institutions. Mr Neri presented their projections for the oil markets in the coming months which he said will be “constructive in the next quarter of 2020 but will see a backwardation in Q1 of 2021”.
The webinar next featured Mr Wim Roels, Chief Executive Officer of Borouge, who own the world's largest integrated polyolefin complex. In addition to the global petrochemical
landscape and outlook, Mr Roels shared Borouge’s commitment to circularity and how Borouge’s sustainable plastics solutions provide key support during the Pandemic, specifically in tackling food security, healthcare and water scarcity issues in vulnerable societies.
On behalf of the organisers, Dr Brian Shegar, President of the UAESBC, spoke at the webinar and moderated two interactive question and answer panel discussions. In his speech, Dr Shegar reiterated that the mission of the UAESBC is to promote business to business connectivity and enhance trade and investment flows between UAE and Singapore. He expanded on the activities of the UAESBC which include Breakfast Talks by experts, seminars on various UAE business sectors, Trade Missions to the UAE and members’ networking sessions between UAESBC and other local trade associations and chambers.
ADNOC’s Head of Short-Term Market Research, Mr Hamad Al Raisi, concurred with Mr Neri’s prediction that the oil markets will stabilize in the coming months of 2020. In addition, Mr Al Raisi disclosed that among ADNOC’s key strategies in overcoming these challenging times is securing partnerships to maintain resilience and prosperity which include their recent joint venture with Wanhua Chemicals to establish AW Shipping based in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).
Mr Moiz Saleem, Chief Operating Officer of ENOC (Singapore) Pte Ltd, who is a well-respected oil trader, gave a unique insight to the markets through a trader’s perspective. He spoke on the extreme volatility of the oil prices across the various stages of the Pandemic including going into an anomalous negative futures pricing in May. Mr Saleem stressed the importance of creativity and resilience for oil traders who he believes are an important bridge between oil producers and consumers.
The last presenter at the webinar was Mr Muhammad Noh bin Abdul Rahman, a Singaporean in Dubai who manages Horizon Terminals’ Operational Excellence and Quality Division. In his presentation, Mr Muhammad Noh disclosed the precautionary measures and staffing strategies implemented at their terminals across East Asia, Middle East and Africa. He also highlighted the valuable and important role of their workforce in coping with the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The webinar ended with Closing Remarks given by Mr Lee Yi Shyan who is a Patron of the UAESBC, Chairman of Business China and former Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry. Mr Lee highlighted key points presented in the webinar and was encouraged by the solutions and useful lessons shared by the companies. He also emphasized on the role of utilizing technology to attain solutions for overcoming the crisis. Mr Lee ended with thanking the presenters, attendees and organisers who participated in this important webinar which he said “has given us a platform to brainstorm for a better way forward beyond the Pandemic crisis”.
The organisers of the webinar noted that event was a resounding success with over 120 attendees from various countries including Singapore, UAE, China, Europe and India. The UAESBC is encouraged by the great response to the OPL and is committed to organize more topical events that will be of interest to the business community.
You can browse through screenshots of the webinar and the pre-event closed meeting with the GOH below: