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Newsfront: Braving the Building Boom

By Gerald Ondrey |

Despite challenges created by a building frenzy in the Middle East and Asia, E&C firms continue to deliver new chemical facilities around the world Anyone with an ear to the door of the chemical process industries (CPI) knows that the rising cost of raw materials is forcing processors to chase the cheap feedstocks. The relatively low price of oil and natural gas is making plant investments in the Middle East, and more recently Russia and parts of Africa, very attractive. At the same time, the increasing standard of living in emerging nations such as China, India and Eastern Europe, coupled with the increasing cost of transportation, is creating the need to bring select segments of the CPI to the doorstep of these developing areas. Combined, these global trends are driving chemical sector engineering and construction (E&C) activity to levels that have never been seen before. "In the Middle East and Asia there is currently a building boom," says Michael Pears, senior vice president with Fluor Corp. (Irving, Tex.). "We are calling it a ‘Super Cycle’ because it’s not the typical cycle with a peak and a downturn. This has been extending for the past two to three years and will probably go considerably…
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