GCC petrochemical market grows 13.5% to 116bn tonnes

Saudi Arabia accounts for half of $100bn sales, says GPCA

GCC petrochemicals production capacity grew 13.5 per cent per cent last year to nearly 116 billion tonnes, up from 102 billion tonnes in 2010, on the back of further expansion of manufacturing facilities.

Saudi Arabia alone accounted for more than half of the $100 billion in sales generated by the GCC petrochemicals sector, with Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation posting total revenues in 2011 of $50.64 billion and a net profit of $7.8 billion, Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) said in its 2011 annual report.

The report also describes 2011 as a year of consolidation after the demand slump caused by the 2008 economic downturn, with the industry recording sales and revenue growth and notable progress in the development of new projects.

“Continued investment and a cluster of significant new agreements demonstrate the leading role the GCC petrochemicals sector is now playing worldwide,” said Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General of the GPCA.

“The GPCA is pleased to announce this market growth and to recognize the contribution of every industry player across the region.”

He added: “We are optimistic about 2012, despite the gloomy economic forecast in European and overseas markets, due to the continued focus on technology, innovation and long-term partnerships.”

One of the most significant projects announced last year was Sadara Chemical Company, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical Company signed in October 2011, which will develop 26 manufacturing units specializing in polyurethanes and other high-performance polymers.

Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi, Borouge, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Borealis, awarded a number of large contracts in 2011 to expand its Borouge 3 petrochemicals complex, including a US$111 million building infrastructure contract to Alpine Deutschland AG, and a US$169 million deal to Hyundai to build a cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) unit.

When fully operational in mid-2014, the Ruwais-located Borouge 3 site will more than double the joint venture’s existing  output, increasing Borouge’s total capacity to 4.5 million tonnes and create the largest integrated single-site polyolefins complex in the world.

Dr. Al-Sadoun said: “The entry of industry leaders such as Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and Sabic into China through the signing of large-scale petrochemicals joint ventures is another positive trend for the GCC sector.”

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