GCC chemical industry achieves revenue of US$84.1bn in 2018

Dr. Abdulwahab Al Sadoun Secretary General GPCAThe GCC chemical industry has achieved a revenue of US$84.1bn in 2018, with a production capacity of 174.8mn tonnes, indicating an increase of 2.8 per cent in the contribution to regional GDP, according to a report

Due to the increased demand for chemicals by the GCC producers around the globe, the production capacity of the GCC chemical industry was also increased by 13.3mn tonnes in 2018, the report added.

The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the voice of the chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf, published the GPCA Pulse of the Chemical Industry Report, highlighting the chemical production, exports, sales, job creation and investments made in the Arabian Gulf in 2018

The report shows that Oman’s chemical sector has the highest contribution to GDP in the GCC countries, with 5.1 per cent in 2018, double that in the region. This achievement is partly attributable to the inclusion of the manufacturing sector in the top five sectors identified by the Oman’s National Programme for Diversification.

Saudi Arabia has maintained its exceptional standing in 2018, still ranking among the top ten chemical exporters in the world. It is also the region’s powerhouse, with the largest output in terms of volume and revenues from chemical sales. In 2018, Saudi producers generated US62bn in revenue. The Saudi chemical industry is also a champion in terms of portfolio diversification, with GPCA member companies in Saudi Arabia producing as many as 126 products with a total capacity of 119.2mn tonnes.

Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, commented, “The chemical industry in the GCC is consistently scaling new heights in terms of production, portfolio diversification and job creation. Such success is driven by visionary regional leadership which is driving economic diversification initiatives that are focused on developing the non-oil sector.

“This is supported by several government initiatives such as Oman’s National Program for Diversification. Saudi Vision 2030 is also playing a role in supporting economic diversification. As it pertains to the UAE, the chemical sector is situated mostly in Abu Dhabi, where the industry is developed in line with Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030, which in turn is creating new employment opportunities.”

“The employment in the GCC chemical industry increased by 157,000 in 2018 with the UAE being the second largest employer gaining approximately 18 per cent market share in regional employment in the chemical sector,” he added.

Against the backdrop of the positive price trends in fertiliser and polymer products, revenue trends in the UAE have increased by 28.4 per cent. The petrochemicals sector in the UAE was characterised by rapid development, with 77 per cent of the current production capacity being launched in the last decade (2008-2018).In 2018, the UAE chemicals output was 14.5mn tonnes, with basic chemicals representing one third (33 per cent), followed by polymers (28 per cent) and fertilisers (30 per cent).

Bahrain’s chemical sector achieved the highest revenue growth of 39 per cent in 2018, attributed primarily to higher revenue from fertiliser products. Bahrain’s production capacity reached 1.4mn tonnes and achieved a revenue of US$327mn in 2018.

Kuwait achieved the second highest chemical revenue growth of 32 per cent in 2018. With industrial expansion being a top priority as part of the long-term development priorities in Kuwait’s 2035 strategy, this achievement further cements its position as a global centre for petrochemical production.

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