Plastics and petrochemicals are the future of Big Oil – there is hardly any question about that if by future we mean the distant future. There is still no consensus – and there won’t be any time soon – about when exactly peak oil demand will descend upon the oil industry, but most forecasters seem to give the industry another few decades of drawing the bulk of their income from selling fuels. After that, it will be plastics and petrochemicals.
Big Oil is already preparing, and it’s not alone. The world’s biggest oil company in terms of reserves, Saudi Aramco, has been very active in seeking refining and petrochemicals projects to invest in as part of its efforts to secure long-term demand for its crude and maximize its value as well.
Indeed, focusing on plastics and petrochemicals is the only way forward for oil companies if we’re talking about their core business, excluding a shift to renewable energy. It’s the only way, but a threat awaits oil companies who take that path: the fight against single-use plastics.