GCC chemical industry reached revenue of $84.1bn in 2018

Oman’s chemical sector has the highest contribution to GDP among the GCC countries, with 5.1% in 2018, which is double that of the region

Downstream, GPCA, Chemicals, Fertilizer

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

According to the report, the GCC chemical industry achieved revenue of $84.1bn in 2018, with production capacity reaching 174.8mn tons, signaling an increase of 2.8% in terms of contribution to the regional GDP. Due to the increased demand of chemicals by the GCC producers across the globe, the production capacity of the GCC chemical industry was increased by 13.3mn tons in 2018.

Oman’s chemical sector has the highest contribution to GDP among the GCC countries, at 5.1% in 2018, double the figure in the region. This achievement is attributable in part to the manufacturing sector being inscribed within the top five sectors identified by Oman’s National Program for Diversification.

Saudi Arabia has retained its spot among the top ten exporters of chemicals today globally. It also boasts the largest volume output and chemical sales revenue in the region. In 2018, Saudi producers generated $62bn 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 tons.

"The chemical industry in the GCC is consistently scaling new heights in terms of production, portfolio diversification and job creation," said Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA. "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."

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

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

Bahrain’s chemical sector achieved the highest revenue growth of 39% in 2018, attributed primarily to higher revenue from fertilizer products. Bahrain’s production capacity reached 1.4mn tons and achieved a revenue of $327mn in 2018.

Kuwait achieved the second highest chemical revenue growth of 32% 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 center for petrochemical production.


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