The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) area has expanded on its position as a major oil and gas producer to become a leading olefins and polymers producer, according to a report released this week by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) and US-based Nexant. The GCC Plastics Processing Industry report says that GCC polymer production capacity has soared during the past five years, rising from 8.8mn tons in 2007 to 19.9mn tons in 2012. At the same time regional polymer consumption has risen on average by 10% a year from 2.8mn tons in 2007 to 4.5mn tons in 2012. GCC polymer consumption is expected to grow further in the next five years at around 8% a year.

“The region is now moving onto the next stage of its development program,” says the report, “with a special focus on downstream industries and plastics conversion. Leading the way are Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have introduced a series of initiatives to boost growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for plastics processing.” Saudi Arabia’s Clusters Development Program has worked well in creating key industrial cities, says GPCA/Nexant, but government now plans to make the kingdom a top-10 exporter of plastics. It aims to set up 14 new industrial cities over the next 10 years. UAE’s Abu Dhabi Polymers Park is emerging as an important hub for plastics converters and the government is encouraging foreign investment. (CONTINUED - 630 WORDS)