The Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) has released its 2011 annual report showing the GCC sector continuing to strengthen its position globally.
Regional petrochemicals production capacity grew 13.5% per cent last year, according to the report, to nearly 116 million tons, up from 102 million tons in 2010, on the back of further expansion of manufacturing facilities.
Saudi Arabia alone accounted for more than half of the US$100 billion in sales generated by the GCC petrochemicals sector, with Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation posting total revenues in 2011 of US$50.64 billion and a net profit of US$7.8 billion.
The GPCA annual report provides a comprehensive overview of the major sector developments in each of the Gulf states. The report describes 2011 as a year of consolidation after the demand slump caused by the 2008 economic downturn, with the industry recording sales and revenue growth and notable progress in the development of new projects.
“Continued investment and a cluster of significant new agreements demonstrate the leading role the GCC petrochemicals sector is now playing worldwide,” said Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General of the GPCA. “The GPCA is pleased to announce this market growth and to recognize the contribution of every industry player across the region.”
He added: “We are optimistic about 2012, despite the gloomy economic forecast in European and overseas markets, due to the continued focus on technology, innovation and long-term partnerships.”
One of the most significant projects announced last year was Sadara Chemical Company, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical Company signed in October 2011, which will develop 26 manufacturing units specializing in polyurethanes and other high-performance polymers.
In December 2011, Qatar Petroleum and Shell announced plans to build a $6.5 billion petrochemicals plant. The scope under consideration includes a world-scale steam cracker, a mono-ethylene glycol plant and an olefins production facility, all heavily utilizing proprietary Shell technologies. Qatar Petroleum will have an 80% equity interest in the project and Shell 20%.
On the fertilizer side, 2011 was an historic milestone for Qatar, as Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO) inaugurated its fifth expansion in December 2011, making the company the world’s largest single-site producer of ammonia, having already taken the urea production crown with QAFCO 4 in 2004. QAFCO 5 increases the total production capacity of the company to 3.6 million TPA of ammonia, and 4.2 million TPA of urea.
Dr. Al-Sadoun said: “The entry of industry leaders such as Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and SABIC into China through the signing of large-scale petrochemicals joint ventures is another positive trend for the GCC sector.”
The GPCA 2011 annual report is available at www.gpca.org.ae.
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