Saudi Arabian Chemical market is the largest in North Africa and the Middle East. The country has one of the largest integrated chemical complexes in the world. The investments in the Saudi Arabian Chemical Market in the year 2016 were nearly 40% greater than any other global chemical market. The country invested USD 1 billion in 2016, increasing the production capacity by 5%.
Saudi Arabia is strategically located at the crossroads of several markets with high demand for various chemical products. The country enjoys easy access to an established and comprehensive logistics network. Saudi Arabia’s location allows the country to use the largest marine network in the Middle East region and the fastest growing port in the world. The country’s chemical exports represent nearly 60% of non-oil exports and are expected to grow in the future. The country exports its products mainly to Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Saudi Arabian Chemical Market has a well- established ecosystem for the chemical industry in the city of Jubail. The city has the largest industrial base in the Middle East region. A major part of the country’s chemical sector is supported through various initiatives by the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. The initiatives include expats relocating to Saudi Arabia from more than 40 countries and talent sourcing through top local universities. The Commission also invests in technological innovations and research and development. Saudi Aramco recently established a research center at one of the top universities in the country. The Commission also provides supporting services like waste management and has established a partnership with more than 50 different companies in Jubail.
Presence of leading chemical companies
Aramco is a Saudi Arabian petrochemical and natural gas company based in Dhahran. As of 2020, Aramco is the sixth-largest company in the world by revenue. Around 79,000 people are associated with Aramco. Saudi Aramco has the world’s second-largest crude oil reserves and largest daily oil production facility. The company operates the world’s largest single hydrocarbon network. Aramco is also involved in the production of commodity chemicals. These chemicals include olefins, aromatics, and polyolefins. Several complex products including advanced synthetic rubber and polyols are also manufactured by Aramco. The chemicals produced find application in the automotive, footwear, and packaging industry.
SABIC, headquartered in Riyadh, is among the world’s largest petrochemicals manufacturers. Around 70% of the company’s shares are owned by Saudi Aramco. SABIC is composed of four strategic business segments including petrochemicals, agri- nutrients, metals, and specialties. The company produces several polymers including acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, metallocene polyethylene, acrylonitrile styrene acrylate, polybutylene terephthalate, etc. These polymers are mostly consumed in the automotive, foam, and pipe segments. These polymers help in replacing traditional materials like glass, wood, and cotton. SABIC also produces essential chemicals for a wide range of advanced materials used in everyday life. The chemicals produced include aromatics, ethanolamines, glycols, olefins, etc.
National Industrialization Company (Tasnee) is one of the largest industrial and petrochemical companies in Saudi Arabia. This group is one of the largest investors in the titanium value chain in the local and global chemical market. Tasnee was one of the first companies in Saudi Arabia to invest in the petrochemical sector. They established their first petrochemical complex in Jubail and constructed an ethylene cracker. Tasnee exports the majority of its products globally. They also support the growth of the local markets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Tasnee manufacturers various chemicals including butanol, acetic acid, glacial acrylic acid, etc. They are also involved in the production of polypropylene, high-density, and low-density polyethylene along with their derivatives. The polymers manufactured have high heat resistance, flexibility, and strength.
Future of the country’s chemical sector
Saudi Arabian chemical market has a promising future and is expected to double by 2030. The country’s share in the global chemical market is increasing due to increased production capacities. Saudi Arabia has one of the most cost-efficient markets for the chemical business. The country has certain advantages that enable the chemical market to flourish. The abundant access to raw materials and a high standard of infrastructure are among the prominent ones. Saudi Arabia also has a well- established transport system which helps in increased exports. The undergoing industrial growth led by the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and the diversification of KSA’s economy represents key components that are driving this market forward.