SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Overall chemical production capacity in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is expected to post a 5.3% growth this year to about 167.3m tonnes, largely on new plants that started up in Saudi Arabia, the secretary general of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) said.
This growth is lower than the 8.5% year-on-year capacity expansion in 2016, and also a deceleration from the 6.0% growth recorded in 2015, Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun told ICIS.
This year saw the completion of phased start-ups of two major petrochemical complexes in Saudi Arabia: the Sadara Chemical complex in Jubail, and the PetroRabigh II expansion in Rabigh.
Other start-ups include those by Ma’aden, for ammonia and diammonium phosphate (DAP); by Ibn Sina, for polyacetal; and by Saudi Methacrylates, the SABIC/Mitsubishi joint venture, for methyl methacylate and polymethyl methacrylate. Additionally, Saudi Aramco boosted benzene and paraxylene capacity at its Jazan refinery complex.
“For the period 2017-2026, we anticipate a modest growth in volume but at the same time the growth in sales revenue is projected to increase due to the drive towards producing specialty and performance chemical by the regional industry,” Al Sadoun said.
Meanwhile, captive chemical consumption in the GCC in 2017 is expected to rise by 5.5% to 53.8m tonnes, with the rate of increase higher than the 3.9% posted in the previous year, according to Al-Sadoun.
Between 2020 and 2024, projects worth a total of $13bn, involving 8m tonne/year in new capacity, are expected to come on stream in the GCC, he said.
These projects announced in 2016 are expected to generate as much as 4,000 new jobs, the GPCA secretary general said.
The GPCA will hold its 12th Annual GPCA Forum on 27-29 November this year in Dubai, UAE, with the theme “The chemical industry in transformation: A new journey begins”. The forum is expected to attract more than 2,000 delegates this year, according to Al-Sadoun.
The event this year will see the inaugural launch of the GPCA Legacy Initiative and Legacy Award which will honour individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to foster and strengthen the development of the chemicals industry in one or more of the GCC states, he said.
GPCA will be bestowing the GPCA Legacy Award “Al-Rowad” posthumously to Ghazi Al-Gosaibi, the first chairman of SABIC; to Yousif Al-Shirawi, Bahrain’s minister of development and Industry in 1971-1995; and to Abdulbaqi Al-Nouri, the former chairman and managing director of Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC).
“These prominent individuals were the first to realize and explore the potential of setting up a chemical industry in the region by challenging the status quo, by overcoming any obstacle on the way and illuminating the road for the next generations to come,” Al-Sadoun said.
“We believe that the history of the industry in our region is an important shared legacy that brings us together and encourages us to advance our industry even further. In addition, this initiative brings attention to a shared heritage, and thereby strives to strengthen the sense of community among GPCA member companies,” he said.
Interview article by Nurluqman Suratman