Dubai: Petrochemical capacity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is estimated to increase from 77.3 million tonnes per annum (mpta) to 113 mpta by the end of 2015, according to reports.
The GCC petrochemicals production capacity grew 13.5 percent last year to nearly 116 billion tonne, with Saudi Arabia alone generating more than half of the USD 100 billion in sales registered by the GCC petrochemical sector, according to Gulf Petrochemical & Chemicals Association (GPCA).
The six GCC countries are the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) said Saudi Arabia tops the list with USD 12 billion of projects under execution and another USD 41 billion in future projects.
Petrochemical projects worth USD 19 billion are under execution in the GCC providing opportunities in both the long and short terms, the reports said.
SAS-AIChE Chairman Abdulmohsen Al Majnouni said the major short-term opportunities are in more integrated specialty and performance chemicals.
"These are basically secondary and tertiary industries. This is especially true for Middle East countries as supply of cheap feedstock is questionable. In long term, opportunities will be found in the compounding industries, detergent basics, pharmaceuticals, rubbers and tires," he said.
According to Majnouni, companies operating in the GCC have previously enjoyed subsidised feedstock and less competition in the petrochemical area but the competition and availability of feedstock are now two factors that demonstrate promise and excitement.
Owing to the significant capacity expansion that is underway, the Middle East's share in global ethylene capacity could increase from 19 percent in 2009 to 23 percent in 2014.
Global consumption of petrochemicals is likely to be primarily driven by emerging economies, reports said.
China, which consumes 22 percent of the world's ethylene, but contributes just 11 percent to the global output, will remain the major consuming market.