The petrochemical industry in the Gulf region grew at 3.7 per cent in 2016 reaching 150 million tonnes of capacity, according to an annual study by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), outpacing the global average growth of 2.2 per cent.
The figures emerged from ‘Arabian Gulf Industry Year in Review’ part of GPCA’s recently released annual
report. The study highlights that the industry’s growth is largely due to new capacity added in Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest petrochemical producer with 99.1 million tonnes of capacity, representing a 66 per cent share of regional capacity.
While the report highlights a fall from the Gulf chemical industry’s growth rate of 5 per cent in 2015, due in part to feedstock supply constraint and global economic uncertainty, ‘transformational’ new, highly complex projects in the region, such as the $20 billion Sadara Chemical joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow, and Kemya Elastomer Plant, an affiliate of Sabic and ExxonMobil Chemicals, point to a positive medium term outlook for growth. The drop from 2015 figures can also be attributed to new capacity additions coming from specialty chemicals, which tend to be lower in volume but higher in value compared to commodity petrochemicals.
In addition, it notes that GCC chemicals capacity utilisation is more than 90 per cent over the past five years.
Dr Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, said: “The regional industry continues to grow healthily by integrating new technologies, building better strategic partnerships and navigating smartly around global economic uncertainties.”