Chemistry 2024 – anniversary meeting with the chemical industry

Konferencja Chemia 2024 scena główna

We met for the 30th time in Płock, the capital of Polish chemistry, at an anniversary symposium with representatives of the largest industry of the Polish economy.

As every year, the entire industry actively discussed market challenges and prospects for the coming years. There are many problems shaping the future of the chemical industry, and not all market factors are conducive to building optimistic scenarios. Decarbonization of production and adaptation of processes to the requirements of the European Green Deal, investments in digitalization and new technologies, energy problems, shrinking sales markets for the European market and challenges in recruiting competent technical staff – here are just examples of the topics discussed during the conference.

Competitiveness of the chemical industry

As experts emphasize, the chemical industry may not be able to cope without a real seal of the borders of the European Union. The Polish and European markets are constantly receiving cheap and non-ecological goods and components, especially from Asia. Cheap imports combined with expensive emission reduction investments that companies must make are destroying the competitiveness of the domestic and European markets. If the EU administration does not quickly implement tools to control Community borders, the chemical market in Europe may experience a serious collapse.

The chemical industry is the largest and strategic branch of the Polish economy. Perturbations in this market may have a strong impact on the condition of the entire economy, because many other industries operate on the basis of raw materials and components produced by the chemical and petrochemical industries. Therefore, the industry expects quick actions towards a controlled flow of imports, especially from China, as well as full unblocking of EU funds from the KPO.

Production in the chemical industry shows oversupply, and existing customers often choose cheaper eastern equivalents. Declining demand, high energy costs and high inflation are not conducive to improving the economic situation in the industry. Many large plants are also moving their branches and suppliers closer to the main factory, thereby shortening supply chains.

Reducing the emission intensity of plants

Difficulties faced by chemical plants include: the effect of high costs incurred in connection with the sustainable transformation of the industry. EU legal requirements include a number of directives and proposals for changes that concern emission reduction plans. Goals aimed at decarbonizing production encourage companies to make much greater use of renewable energy sources. The industry is the primary producer of raw materials and components for the construction of photovoltaic panels and wind turbine components. It is also important to implement technologies that will allow the production of products with a limited impact on the natural environment and human health.

As experts point out, safe and sustainable chemistry is to be the driving force in the pursuit of the green transformation of industry, and Europe, even though it bears the high costs of this change today, is to be the determinant of climate and environmental protection standards for all participants in global economic turnover.

Staff shortages in the chemical industry

According to data from the Central Statistical Office, the chemical sector in Poland creates approximately 300,000 jobs, which constitutes 11% of total employment in industry. At the same time, HR industry experts emphasize that they lack qualified technical staff. The average length of employment in large chemical enterprises sometimes exceeds 20 years, and it is impossible to learn in a short time how industrial installations behave in various operating conditions of the plant (weather conditions, changes in technological processes, etc.).

Today, companies not only care about recruiting new technical staff, but also particularly aim to protect experienced experts. It is their knowledge that is of great value to companies today. In addition, the industry is looking for specialists in connection with the development of new technologies, but also people with completely new skills, e.g. managers for implementing ESG strategies.

Specialized industrial cleaning

Climbex constantly cooperates with the chemical and petrochemical industries, where it provides specialized industrial cleaning services.

“At events of this type, we particularly emphasize the role of our activities in maintaining the safety of industrial plants,” emphasizes Jarosław Pogoński, commercial manager in the Industrial Cleaning area. “We support enterprises in emergency situations and in maintaining the efficiency of installations on a daily basis and maintaining the continuity of technological processes. We work with the chemical industry on planned renovations and periodic cleaning of process systems, such as flue gas desulfurization installations, dirty hexane and ammonia installations. We also service large-size tanks for crude oil. We perform this service using automatic ATC (Automated Tank Cleaning) technology, guaranteeing the recovery of high-quality hydrocarbons,” adds Pogoński from Climbex.

The conference in numbers

The 30th anniversary edition of the Chemistry 2024 Symposium is 2 days of discussion about the strategy and future of the Polish chemical industry, 5 thematic panels, a debate, 4 mini-interviews and 47 stands. The nearly 450 participants included representatives of chemical plants, service and solution providers for the industry, scientific units and research and development organizations.

Photos: resources of Climbex Sp. z o. o. / BMP Sp. z o. o. Sp.k.