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Improving delivery of capital projects for chemicals companies

Accenture report examines how can capital projects delivery can be improved for chemicals companies.



After pulling through the most recent economic downturn, chemicals companies are in expansion mode. Projections indicate nearly $19 trillion will be spent globally through 2035 on capital projects.

The growing investments in the chemicals industry, along with the innate complexity of projects, leads to the question: How can capital project delivery be improved? To answer this question, Accenture interviewed executives about key challenges and methods to improve outcomes in capital project delivery.


This report is based on primary research conducted by a third-party firm on behalf of Accenture. Interviews were conducted with executives between February and May 2012. All respondents were C-level executives and decision makers or influencers regarding decisions related to management of capital projects in their organizations.

Survey interviewers conducted a phone survey with executives in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the United States. Projects eligible for consideration involved operating assets of at least $1 billion and taking more than one year to deliver.

Key Findings

Survey respondents were asked about their organizational priorities in the next three years, and these themes emerged:

  • Obtaining the right leaders and talent for project delivery

  • Enhancing front-end loading and scheduling

  • Improving alignment to organizational strategy


Based on survey results, research and industry experience, Accenture offers four recommendations to improve capital project delivery:

  1. Establish strong project governance, risk management and front-end planning tools

  2. Enhance scarce talent through portfolio management, organizational flexibility and training

  3. Integrate information systems among capital project players

  4. Accelerate operational readiness


Andy Webster is a managing director for Accenture Capital Projects Services supporting the chemicals, energy and utilities industry sectors. Based in Houston, Andy works with clients globally providing consulting and project services to support business planning, building new organizational capabilities, improving project predictability and control and enabling engineering and project information management. His experience spans business transformation, business architecture, program management and information management.

Paul Bjacek, a senior manager in Accenture Research, leads global chemicals and natural resources research. He has more than 25 years of experience in chemicals strategy development and research, from base chemicals to specialty chemicals and polymers. Mr. Bjacek also frequent speaks and writes about issues affecting the global materials industry. He is based in Houston.