In 2013, the Arabian Gulf countries exported 39.5 million tons of chemicals to Asia, with China accounting for the largest share, according to the annual Facts & Figures report of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), which will be released during the 9th Annual GPCA Forum, taking place 23-25 November, in Dubai, UAE.
The development of the manufacturing sector in China has enhanced demand for raw materials, including chemicals. As a result, GCC chemicals exports to China grew by an estimated13% per year over the last ten years, with nearly 60% of GCC chemicals and plastics export going to Asia, says the GPCA.
“Given their significant feedstock advantage, petrochemical and chemical producers from the GCC countries have established strong foothold in China as their exports to this market have increased consistently over the past decade,” says Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary-General of the GPCA. “With US shale gas changing the global energy and petrochemical landscape, the relationship between the GCC and China is ever more important.”
China is the world’s biggest chemical market, and is still growing at double digit rates, faster than the country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP). Last year, China’s chemical industry was valued at US$1.31 trillion. China imported 5.52m tons of polyethylene resins (PE) in the first seven months of this year, up by 14.6%. Its polypropylene resins (PP) important totaled 2.98 million tons during the same period, up by 7.68%. “This is a clear signal that China has an unquenchable thirst for consumer grade plastic—a demand that can be ably filled by GCC producers over the next few years,” continued Dr. Al- Sadoun.
According to data from China’s national customs agencies, China imported 3.01 million tons of PE from the GCC countries in 2013, which accounted for 34% of the country’s total PE imports that year. China imported 1.18 million tons of PP in 2013, with GCC material accounting for 24%. According to the GPCA, more PE and PP volumes are expected to flow from the GCC to China going forward in view of new plants scheduled to come on stream in the GCC region over the next few years.
“The chemical industries in the GCC and China have boomed in parallel over the last 30 years,” says Dr. Al-Sadoun. “GCC producers are seeking a role as enabler of the economy of the future and are indispensable players in China’s economic development. At the same time, GCC petrochemical producers are seeking to develop the downstream hydrocarbon industry as part of their Gulf-based sustainability efforts.”
Dr. Al-Sadoun: “Both markets have to move to higher value products, accelerated by increased competition from the US. Partnerships are therefore an important way forward and during our the annual flagship conference for the GCC petrochemical and chemical industry in the region, the 9th Annual GPCA Forum, we have dedicated a special seminar to how China’s economic outlook with impact the GCC and what factors are essential to a successful China-GCC partnership – from the perspective of both parties.”
The seminar, organized in partnership with the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF), will be open to all delegates of the 9th Annual GPCA Forum and will focus on:
• What are the opportunities for partners as the industry in China changes?
• Moving to value added products in China
• The GCC view of what makes a successful partnership
• What lessons can be learned from the past?
• Overcoming cultural changes to manage JVs and partnerships
• How willing are Chinese partners to form JVs overseas rather than in China?
Industry leaders with vast experience of joint-ventures in China will offer their insight on the extensive opportunities awaiting those who can form successful partnerships and how to make them work. Confirmed speakers include Abdulaziz Al-Judaimi, GPCA Board Member and Vice President, Saudi Aramco; Yousef-Al-Zamel, Executive Vice President, Sabic; Wim Roels, CEO Borouge Pte Ltd; Jim Mcllvenny, Sr. Vice President of Dow Chemical Co. and Chairman of the Dow Sadara Project Office; Li Shousheng, Executive Vice Chairman, CPCIF; Zhu Jianmin, President of Liaoning Oxiranchem and Xi Weida Ningbo, Vice Director of Petrochemical Industrial Park.
Held on the theme of “Innovation: The Strategic Direction of the Chemical Industry – What’s Next?” the 9th Annual GPCA Forum will be held from November 23- 25 in Dubai. For more information, please visit www.gpcaforum.net
See annex for detailed data on GCC chemical exports in 2013