Chemical industry in Middle East set to grow in next three years

chemical PEO ACWA flickrThe report by IHS stated that the chemical industry will grow in the next three years in the Middle East. (Image source: PEO ACWA/Flickr)The chemical industry in the Middle East will be the fastest growing industry for the next three years, according to an IHS report

The consulting firm said that investments will drive chemical exports from the Middle East and help the chemicals industry grow faster than other key industries like oil and gas, transportation, defence, banking and automotive.

The analysis added that China will be the biggest market for Middle East exports, which will grow by more than eight per cent year-on-year in 2016, representing an increase of more than six per cent growth above 2013 chemical export figures.

Dave Witte, general manager of IHS Chemicals, said, “The region faces an opportunity to pivot to strategies that leverage their growing technological expertise, expand their global footprint and seize upon commercial advantages. Additionally, it enables Middle East producers to continue building on their leading position in commodity production and expand into intermediates and higher-value products.”

The report by IHS noted that a degree of healthy competition has spurred a change — availability of cheaper gas feedstock mix and rising competition in the US has driven petrochemical producers to look at new technologies to invest in.

According to Witte, this is a ‘positive transition’ as technology, competition and market dynamics keep changing and this has given rise to the 'second generation of the Middle East chemical industry.'

The report goes on to explain how petrochemical majors can expand their scope. Sadara, the US$20mn JV between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemicals, plans to include 20 process units making amines, glycol ethers isocyanates, polyether polyols, polyethylene, polyolefin elastomers, and propylene glycol.

According to reports, SABIC and ExxonMobil Chemical are investing US$3.4bn to build a rubber and elastomers complex which would introduce ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber, polybutadiene rubber, and carbon black production to Saudi Arabia.

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