GCC petchem R&D investments on the rise, says GPCA

4111GCC petrochemical producers are ramping up R&D funding despite a global slowdown in investments, says a top official from the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA), the region’s longest standing trade association.

“Chemical companies in the Gulf are pioneers in the Middle East when it comes to building research and development facilities,” said Dr. Moayyed Al Qurtas, Chairman of the GPCA’s Research & Innovation Committee. “While the region’s petrochemicals industry may spend a fraction on research compared to global investment, the GCC has amongst the highest year on year growth rates in R&D expenditure in the world.”

In 2012, GCC chemical producers spent an estimated US$380 million on research and development initiatives, just 0.8% of the global R&D spending. However, the 2012 figure also highlights a 30% growth in investments as GCC petrochemicals producers spent US$266 million on R&D in 2011. With global R&D expenditure rising by just 10% in the same period, it is clear to see the Gulf’s increasing focus on this sector.

GCC petrochemical companies have already stepped up efforts in developing R&D facilities with Tasnee and SABIC launching products development research centers in the recent past. Sipchem in Saudi Arabia, and Borouge in the United Arab Emirates, are also set to open their own facilities in the near future.

“Moving forward, petrochemical research centers focusing on the performance products are set to become more common in the GCC,” predicts Dr. Qurtas.

Petrochemicals represent the second largest manufacturing sector in the Gulf, according to the GPCA. The Gulf’s petrochemicals output reached US$97.3billion in 2012, a US$3.2billion increase on the previous year. The industry is also export oriented, with petrochemicals accounting for US$52.7 billion in 2012.

The need for research will be a key focus of discussion at the Research & Innovation Summit, hosted by the GPCA, from March 12- 13. Local and international industry leaders and executives including Eng. Mohammed Al Mady, Chairman of the GPCA and CEO of SABIC; provide insights on the subject.

The Research & Innovation Summit will be held from March 12-13 at the Ritz Carlton, DIFC.

For more information, please visit www.gpcaresearch.com/2014/

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