Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are the leading players in the rapid and sustained growth of the polymer industry that is taking place across the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Detailed statistical and contextual information on the industry’s expansion is being provided by the GPCA (Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association), the go-to source for industry data in the region. According to a report prepared for PlastiCon, an annual GPCA event devoted to the plastics segment of the petrochemical industry, it is anticipated that the GCC polymer industry will reach 345 tonnes by 2022
Naturally, further downstream development is also expected to flow from the anticipated continuing expansion of the polymer industry. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are supporting the growth process by introducing measures to nurture the development of small and medium enterprises (SMES) dedicated to plastics processing. Another important stimulus to the growth of the polymer industry is the construction in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman of new industrial parks dedicated to polymer conversion and related industrial needs.
Another important development that points the way forward is the growing tendency of petrochemical producers to diversify, a tendency that is leading these producers to move increasingly in the direction of specialities such as elastomers and engineering plastics. The greatest number of new products will be within the field of synthetic rubbers, but we should also note that industrial packaging is the fastest growing end-user market for polymers across the region. Rising incomes and a stronger jobs market are also contributing to the expansion of the polymer industry by creating further demand for numerous consumer and household goods and supplies.