Chemicals Will Be Fastest Growing Industry in Middle East for Next Three Years, As Producers Move Toward Higher Value Products

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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 

Monday, April 21, 2014 3:13 pm EDT

"The Middle East continues to be a dominant force in petrochemical production"

DUBAI (21 April, 2014) – 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.

These trends, among others, in the Middle East’s fast-growing chemical industry are part of the latest analysis by IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight. These topics will also be discussed at length at the IHS Forums in Dubai (27-29 April).

In its analysis, IHS says investments will drive chemical exports from the Middle East and will help the chemicals industry grow faster than other key industries in the region, including oil and gas, transportation, defence, banking and automotive. 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.”

‘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/.

Members of the press can now register for a complimentary pass to the IHS Forum in Dubai, held at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City, from 27-29 April. To register, please send an email with your name, title and outlet details to press@ihs.com. A full agenda and additional information can be found here: http://ihsglobalevents.com/forum/dubai2014/agenda/. For Twitter references please use #IHSForum.

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About IHS (www.ihs.com)

IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of information, insight and analytics in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape. Businesses and governments in more than 165 countries around the globe rely on the comprehensive content, expert independent analysis and flexible delivery methods of IHS to make high-impact decisions and develop strategies with speed and confidence. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS is committed to sustainable, profitable growth and employs more than 8,000 people in 31 countries around the world.

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