The chemical and petrochemical industry in the Arabian Gulf is poised for growth in 2021-2022, as the regional and global economy is forecast to recover in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the voice of the chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf, has announced.

The regional chemical industry is anticipated to see growth across all key indicators including chemical sales revenue, production output and international trade off the back of an increase in regional economic activity, supported by a rapid vaccination roll-out, and the global economic rebound, GPCA said.

According to the World Bank, GCC economies are expected to return to an aggregate growth of 2.2 percent in 2021, buoyed by global economic recovery, projected at 5.6 percent and the revival of global oil demand and international oil prices. Earlier this month, brent crude rose to its highest levels since October 2018, reaching $86.04 per barrel.

Higher oil output combined with an improved oil price outlook are boosting fiscal revenues in the region, as hydrocarbons generate significant revenue for the GCC. This, combined with strong economic and manufacturing activity in China, which represents the GCC’s largest export market, GPCA forecasts a healthy chemical and petrochemical GCC market outlook, which will spill into 2022.

Nevertheless, supply chain delays and disruptions will likely persist, leading to an increase in the cost of commodities, including some of the chemical industry’s key inputs. With higher oil prices, feedstock prices are expected to remain elevated, and margins to decrease.

To discuss these trends and highlight the chemical industry’s role in a post-pandemic recovery, the Annual GPCA Forum will convene global and regional industry leaders from over 500 companies in 50 countries on December 7-9 at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE. The forum will take place under the theme ‘Redefine. Reshape. Reinvent. The Chemical Industry in a Post-Pandemic Reality’ to shed light on the lessons learned from COVID-19, the opportunities for investment in the regional chemical sector, and drive multi-stakeholder partnerships. This year’s edition will combine an insightful conference program, a must-see speaker line-up and an array of networking opportunities, bringing the regional and global chemical industry together under the same roof for the first time since the spread of the virus in early 2020.

Esteemed speakers at this year’s edition will include Yousef Al-Benyan, vice chairman and CEO, SABIC, and chairman, GPCA, who will present the welcome address at the forum. The morning session on day one will feature Dr. Ilham Kadri, CEO and president of the executive committee, Solvay, Thomas Gangl, CEO, Borealis, and Nikhil Meswani, executive director and member of the board, Reliance Industries Limited.

Other leading speakers include:

· Mutlaq Al-Morished, CEO, TASNEE

· Naser Aldousari, president and CEO, EQUATE

· Ahmed Al Jahdhami, CEO Downstream, OQ

· Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, CEO, APICORP

· Chuka Umunna, MD and head of EMEA ESG, J.P. Morgan

Throughout the three-day event, four masterclass sessions will look at the opportunities to realise the potential of hydrogen; how the industry can step up the ESG game and realise value for chemical companies; the path ahead for building supply chain resilience; and opportunities to leverage technology post crisis.

Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, commented: “The chemical industry in the region is emerging from a period of significant disruption, subdued growth and an unprecedented decrease in consumer demand in a range of end-user sectors, which chemical producers serve. At the same time, the industry demonstrated resilience like never before, as it fulfilled its vital role to serve society’s needs and help equip the healthcare industry with the equipment and materials it requires to combat the spread of the virus and distribute the vaccine. The Arabian Gulf region is now entering into a gradual recovery which will require it to maintain resilience and keep production output high in order to cater to end-user markets at home, in Asia and the world.”

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10th November 2021