Contributing to socio-economic development

The Arabian Gulf chemical industry is a multibillion dollar industry, accounting for 3.1% of regional GDP. The industry accounts for 6% of the world’s chemical production, exported to markets in 180 countries around the globe. A major employer in the region, the chemical sector directly employs 152,100 people and accounts for 456,300 indirect jobs in other sectors of the economy. This is almost half a million employees, of whom a significant portion are GCC nationals. The industry enjoys one of the region’s highest job multiplier effect – for every new job created in the chemical sector three more are generated elsewhere in the economy.

The Arabian Gulf region has emerged as a global hub for the production of chemicals and petrochemicals. Since its inception, the industry grew by 13.6% per annum during the years 1966-2016.

The key to continuous growth in the petrochemicals industry is the availability of, and access to, natural gas feedstock and refinery petrochemicals integration. The GCC enjoys significant energy advantages; nearly one-third of the world’s oil and a quarter of world’s natural gas reserves are found in the region.

The chemical and petrochemical value chain in the GCC is complex and growing rapidly. With its vast and abundant hydrocarbon resources, the region produces a multitude of high value products for export and domestic consumption, generating hundreds of thousands of jobs, and supporting GCC economies. As the downstream drive continues, and producers aim to extract greater value from hydrocarbon molecules, GPCA presents some of the most common and wide ranging petrochemicals and chemicals in the Arabian Gulf, and how they are derived from a variety of feedstocks and products.

Chemical industry’s value added is USD 43.8 billion

GCC GDP by economic activity, 2016
GDP by manufacturing (%)
Contribution of chemical industry to manufacturing value added, 2016
Oman 51%
Qatar 44%
Saudi Arabia 27%
Kuwait 24%
UAE 19%
Bahrain 14%

The industry’s production capacity recorder a YoY growth of 8.5% in 2016 reaching 185.8 million tons

Production capacity growth pattern (2005 – 2016); million tons
Breakdown by country (%)
Breakdown by sector (%)

Expansion of the industry’s products slate (2006 – 2016)

See also

Chemistry innovations
Health and safety is our top priority
Environment and plastics sustainability
Shaping the future workforce