Middle East Chemical Exports to Outgrow Oil & Gas

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Chemicals will be fastest growing industry in Middle East for next three years, as producers move toward higher value products, says IHS.

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Middle East Chemical Exports to Outgrow Oil & Gas, says IHS

Driven by U.S. shale competition and changing feedstock mix, investments in technology and integration will help chemical industry diversify, maintain growth and expand job creation

IHS Inc., the leading global source of critical information and insight, forecasts that the chemicals industry grow faster than other key industries in the Middle East, including oil and gas, transportation, defence, banking and automotive. IHS will discuss growth opportunities across many industries at the IHS Forum (Dubai, 27-29 April).

China will be the biggest market for these Middle East exports, which will grow by more than 8 percent year-on-year in 2016, representing an increase of more than 6 percent growth above 2013 chemical export figures.

“The Middle East continues to be a dominant force in petrochemical production,” said Dave Witte, general manager of IHS Chemical and senior vice president at IHS. “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.”

Sometimes, healthy competition is good. For the Middle East refining and petrochemical industry, a changing global feedstock mix and increasing competition in the U.S. driven by the availability of cheaper gas feedstock, is reinforcing previous decisions by Middle East petrochemical producers to continue investing in new technology. The industry is also diversifying its feedback mix and expanding its product slates to include more higher-value intermediates.

‘Second Generation’ of Chemical Industry

“This is a positive transition that many maturing industries face, as technology, competition and market dynamics mandate change,” Witte said. “We are witnessing the beginning of the “second generation” of the Middle East chemical industry. During the IHS Forum in Dubai, we will examine the challenges and opportunities facing the Middle East chemical industry, and discuss the investment outlook. Investments are likely to differ significantly from the recent past, but will help move the industry in a new direction.”

One such example of this Middle East diversification strategy, which will also expand job creation in Saudi Arabia, is Sadara, a $20-billion joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical, which will incorporate liquid feedstocks as well as gas to feed its cracker at Al Jubail. Sadara’s complex, scheduled to be online in 2015, will include more than 20 process units making amines, glycol ethers, isocyanates, polyether polyols, polyethylene, polyolefin elastomers, and propylene glycol. SABIC and ExxonMobil Chemical, meanwhile, are investing $3.4 billion to build a rubber and elastomers complex that will introduce ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber, polybutadiene rubber, and carbon black production to Saudi Arabia.

Other key Middle East leaders will present their views. The Executive Vice President and Corporate Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), Mr. Mutlaq H. Al-Morished, will deliver a keynote presentation at the IHS Forum in Dubai on Tuesday, 29 April, where he will discuss Middle East chemical industry growth and future of petrochemicals in the Middle East.
The IHS Forum, Dubai 2014 will be held at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City, from 27-29 April. Further information and delegate registration is available at http://ihsglobalevents.com/forum/dubai2014/.

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