Muscat: Fertiliser production capacity in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region has reached 42.3 million tonnes per annum in 2017, rising by 12 per cent over the previous year, a new report by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the go-to source for industry data, has found.
According to the report entitled, “2016 GCC Fertiliser Industry Indicators,” the industry expanded at the highest growth rate year on year since 2011, and further outpaced overall annual growth of 8 per cent per annum over the past decade. Capacity additions in 2017 are mainly driven by Saudi Arabia, the largest fertiliser producer in the region, with projects like Waad Al Shamal, a $7 billion joint venture between Ma’aden, SABIC and Mosaic, coming on stream.
In 2016, the GCC fertiliser industry generated $5.2 billion in sales revenue, with plans to invest $8 billion in new projects over the coming years. By 2025, regional capacity is expected to reach 49.8 million tonnes, growing at a steady rate of 2 per cent per annum. Of the additional 7.4 million tonnes of fertiliser capacity to be added between now and 2025, 95 per cent will come from Saudi Arabia, growing the country’s share in regional fertiliser production to 58 per cent, up from 51 per cent currently.
GCC fertiliser exports have also been growing at 7.3 per cent per annum over the last decade. These exports account for about a third of the chemicals export volume, with 90 per cent sold in international markets.
Growth in fertiliser exports has a significant multiplier effect throughout the local economy generating an estimated $6.7 billion in supporting indirect economic activity in the region, including supporting services, packaging, warehousing and distribution.
The GCC fertiliser industry has also contributed to growth in non-oil exports, expanding sales in international markets. Economic growth in emerging economies has been an important driver of this expansion. In 2016, GCC retained its position as the world’s largest urea exporter with a global market share of 32 per cent and the second largest exporter of diammonium phosphate (DAP) with a share of 14 per cent.
Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, commented, “Much like any other fertiliser producing region globally, the GCC fertiliser industry’s sales revenue has been affected by an overall decline in commodity markets, dropping by an estimated 21% from the year before. Nonetheless, the industry has remained resilient despite volatility in global markets, continuing to expand with a commitment to long-term projects, growing export volumes and significant investment in niche, high-value and environmentally friendly fertiliser products. Furthermore, the contribution of the fertiliser industry to regional progress goes much beyond financial growth, playing an important role in supporting food security and job creation.”
Employing around 54,900 people directly and indirectly, national citizens account for 54 per cent of the industry’s workforce. Over the past decade, direct job creation grew by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7 per cent per annum, while the chemical industry grew at an overall average rate of 6 per cent per annum.
The “2016 GCC Fertiliser Industry Indicators” report will be released at the 8th edition of the GPCA Fertiliser Convention, taking place between September 26 and 28 at the Ritz Carlton, Bahrain.