Gulf petrochemical producers are exploring opportunities to expand capacity, diversify production and realise the region’s full potential to meet oncoming challenges and opportunities, said an expert.
The petrochemicals industry  is bracing to sustain competitiveness keeping in mind the new market realities, remarked Dr Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, the secretary general of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA). His remarks come following the success of the 7th annual GPCA forum organised in Dubai last month.
The theme of the forum, ‘Sustaining competitiveness in a rapidly changing world,’ reflected the scale of the challenges and opportunities facing the regional petrochemicals industry, he stated. According to him, the petrochemicals capacity was continuing to expand in the GCC with the regional capacity surging 10 per cent in 2011 to reach 121 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).
Between 2007 and 2011 regional petrochemicals capacity expanded at 13 per cent compounded annual growth rate, said Al Sadoun, citing the latest GPCA data.  At the same time, wage inflation and rising raw materials costs, incurred as the global economy edges out of recession, are having a knock-on effect on the bottom line of the GCC petrochemicals sector, he added.
“The success of GPCA Forum highlights the Gulf petrochemicals industry’s remarkable growth over the years. The industry has come so far by making optimum use of the opportunities available. No doubt, the regional industry is facing uncertainties but we have managed to demonstrate strong growth in spite of the challenging market conditions,” said Al Sadoun.
The GPCA chief urged the regional industry to continue working together, more closely than ever, to sustain competitiveness in the face of the new market realities.