Saudi Arabia is home to one of the most advanced chemicals industries globally. Thanks to decades of cumulative investment in the chemicals sector , Saudi Arabia is a global leader in the production of chemical products across all segments – basic, intermediate, and specialty.
Under Vision 2030, the Kingdom has ambitious plans to grow the sector even further and double its size by 2030, unlocking new opportunities for investors across the entire value chain. Chemical investors in Saudi Arabia enjoy a cost-competitive environment and a strong ecosystem that includes world-class universities, R&D centers, suppliers, infrastructure, and logistics
Explore Saudi Arabia's
chemical production capacity in KSA for 2017
production capacity growth for Chemicals for 2016
operating revenues of the Chemicals sector for 2016
A global leader in chemicals with a large domestic sector poised to grow significantly
- Saudi Arabia has the largest chemical market in the MENA region, and it is home to the world's largest integrated chemical complex ever built in a single phase.
- Nine of the world’s ten largest chemical players already have operations in Saudi Arabia.
- In 2016, investments in the sector were 40% higher than in any other global market, totaling $1 billion, increasing production capacity by 5%.
- The Kingdom has the world's fifth largest chemical production market and accounts for 10% of total global output.
- Saudi Arabia is the world leader in the production of several key products, including ethylene, glycol, polyethylene, and tert-butyl ether (MYBE).
- Saudi Arabia is one of the most cost-competitive places in the world to produce ethylene, allowing the country to account for 10% of total global production.
- Because of rising demand for basic, intermediate, and specialty chemicals, the chemicals sector is expected to double in size by 2030.
Modern infrastructure, cost advantages and abundant access to raw materials
- Chemical companies in Saudi Arabia operate in an industry-friendly environment, with cost competitive advantages, easy access to raw materials, and a well-developed infrastructure.
- Costs advantages include low feedstock prices, low utility expenses, and customs duty exemptions. Electricity prices are almost 50% lower than the global average.
- Saudi Arabia has a 10% cost advantage for naphtha compared to the US and European markets.
- Saudi Arabia offers secure access to an abundant supply of raw materials, as it is home to more than 25% of the world's proven oil reserves. This access is further enhanced by the presence of key producers such as SABIC for chemicals and Saudi Aramco for energy.
Reliable logistics network providing easy access to international markets
- Saudi Arabia is strategically located at the crossroads of several markets with a high demand for chemical products.
- The Asian chemicals market size is currently valued at $1.8 trillion and is expected to grow by 8% annually. European demand for chemicals stands at $750 billion per year and is expected to grow by 4% annually. Whilst in Africa, the market size is valued at $50 billion and is also expected to increase at 4% annually.
- Saudi-based players have access to a comprehensive and well-established logistics network, which includes the largest marine network in the Middle East region and King Abdullah Port at KAEC, the world's fastest growing port.
- Chemical industry exports account for roughly 60% of non-oil exports and are expected to grow significantly as part of the Saudi Export initiative.
Fully developed and advanced ecosystem supported by key local players
- Saudi Arabia boasts a solid ecosystem for the chemicals sector in the city of Jubail, which is the largest industrial city in the Middle East.
- The Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) is in charge of developing the Saudi Arabia's chemical industry through a variety of initiatives, including talent sourcing through top local universities such as King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and expat relocation to Saudi Arabia from more than 40 different countries.
- R&D and technological innovation are also high priorities for the Kingdom, with Saudi Aramco recently establishing a cutting-edge research center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
- Among the center’s accomplishments are the development of cutting-edge technologies that enable the production of high-tech products for a wide range of market applications, including Linear Alpha Olefin (LAO).
- RCJY is also in charge of supporting services (such as waste management) and has collaborated with over 50 different companies in the city of Jubail alone.
- RCJY oversees the rental of land for industrial use, with highly competitive rates ranging from $0.27 to $4.40 per m2/year.
Pharma & Biotech Opportunities
Success Stories from
‘’The Kingdom is a great place to live and work. The Saudis are welcoming, the expat community is large and active. Anyone having doubts about the Kingdom should visit and experience it for themselves.’’
Company Name : Exxon Mobil
Name : Jean-Pierre Forey
Position : General Manager Planning
Sector name : Chemical
‘’The Kingdom is going through significant changes to realize Vision 2030 and that creates a multitude of opportunities. New sectors are now open, within tourism, entertainment, energy, renewables, retail, and other newly developing markets.’’
Company Name : Shell Overseas Services Limited Company
Name : Andrew Crowe
Position : Director
Sector name : Chemical
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