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Chemicals & Materials (C&M)

2030 strategic priorities

  • Develop into a global leader in specialty polyolefin solutions
  • Grow in attractive markets, with a particular focus on North America and Asia
  • Grow sustainable chemical production capacity to up to 2 mn
  • Establish a leading position in renewable and circular economy solutions
  • Diversify portfolio by entering adjacent products and new product groups

Demand for chemical products will continue to grow above global , even in a low emission world. Virgin polyolefin demand is expected to grow slightly above global GDP with a (2023–2030) of 3.6%. Most of this demand growth stems from high-growth markets in Asia and is associated with a variety of different end-user markets and applications, providing a natural hedge against the volatility of individual industries. Recycled polyolefins are projected to grow with a CAGR (2023–2030) of 12.5%, significantly above GDP, thanks to strong end-market commitments especially in the consumer goods sector, increasing regulations, and the need for end-of-life solutions for plastic waste.

Polyolefins play a critical role as eco-efficient enablers for a sustainable future, e.g., enabling lighter-weight automotive solutions and packaging that reduces food waste and increases shelf life. The current linear value chain in polyolefins faces significant challenges: mismanaged and unmanaged waste, environmental pollution, unnecessary emissions, and accumulation of microplastics. Transforming the value chain from a linear into a circular model will be one of the priorities for a sustainable chemicals business going forward. However, this requires a profound transformation to enable scale at attractive profitability. Current feedstock accessible directly from recycling is limited. For this reason, tapping into upstream and downstream feedstocks, primarily through partnerships, is critical to ensuring sufficient access to plastic waste. Partnerships with brand owners and retailers ensure attractive long-term offtake agreements with green product premiums. In addition, the future operating model needs to be set up to rapidly respond to changing customer and regulatory demands, with a primary focus on the advanced European landscape but also on the ability to quickly roll out successful blueprints globally.

OMV aims to strengthen its polyolefins business by building on existing strengths and capabilities and fully exploiting competitive advantages to grow into adjacent markets, targeting investments and initiatives that improve returns and decrease the Group’s carbon footprint.

C&M has a strong pipeline of organic growth projects in Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

Key growth initiatives include:

  • Expansion of the Burghausen naphtha-based steam cracker (2022)
  • Expansion of propylene production capacities in Belgium. Building a 750,000 t propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant in Kallo, which is expected to start up in 2025
  • Expansion of North American footprint through Baystar JV, building a 1 mn t ethane-based cracker and expanding the polyethylene plant’s capacity to >1 mn t annually. The steam cracker started up in 2022, and the polyolefin plant Bay 3 started end of 2023.
  • Expansion of Borouge JV through the mega project Borouge 4, building an ethane-based steam cracker of 1.5 mn t and polyolefin plants with a capacity of 1.4 mn t. The steam cracker and polyolefin plants are expected to start up at the end of 2025.

The C&M business is seeking to strengthen its polyolefin and specialty product portfolio, securing attractive margins. The business aims to grow in Asia and to strengthen its North American footprint via organic and inorganic investments. In addition, to further broaden its portfolio, C&M aims to tap into adjacent pockets of value creation and develop a more broadly diversified chemicals leadership position, primarily through M&As.

Key growth initiatives via organic or inorganic investments include building a polypropylene position in North America, growing in differentiated specialty products, and growing in Asia in specialty polyolefins and circular solutions.

In addition to overall market attractiveness, strategic fit, and value creation, key investment criteria for potential diversification opportunities are sustainability and geographical footprint. A continued focus on innovation will be essential to maintaining technology leadership.

In July 2023, OMV decided to pursue negotiations with ADNOC on a potential combination of Borealis and Borouge. The transaction would create a global polyolefin company with material presence in key markets and potential for growth, accelerating OMV’s strategy implementation. Open-ended negotiations are still ongoing, aiming for equal terms under a jointly controlled, listed platform.

The Group aims to become a leader in renewable and circular chemicals and materials. To achieve this goal, the Group plans to capture emerging renewable and circular market potential by leveraging its integrated technology platform and end-to-end position to establish new products and novel business models.

The aim is to deliver approximately 2 mn t p.a. of sustainable products by 2030, with a focus on Europe: 40% of OMV’s polyolefin production capacity in Europe is planned to be sustainable. This will be accomplished by accelerating ongoing (advanced) mechanical and chemical recycling initiatives in Europe, as well as by using bio-feedstocks. The sustainable products will be the result of the increasing use of bio-monomers for polyolefins and the broader chemicals portfolio, and leveraging the close integration with OMV’s Fuels & Feedstock business. Building on its European sustainability leadership, C&M will utilize its global footprint to expand circular economy solutions globally with existing joint ventures, new growth platforms, and additional partnerships across Asian and North American assets.

OMV’s C&M business will be the major growth engine of the Group. With a portfolio of various growth initiatives, it will balance sustainability, risk, and returns and strengthen resilience against market dynamics. The C&M strategy has significant growth and value creation potential.

Total organic investments in Chemicals & Materials will average EUR 0.9 bn p.a. in 2022–2030, EUR 0.3 bn p.a. of which will be allocated to sustainable and CO2 emissions reduction projects.

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