Advantages and opportunities
The Saudi petrochemicals production includes 16 million tonnes of polymer per year and is expected to rise to 20 million tonnes annually by 2020. The plastics and packaging sector has great potential for further growth, in terms of: production volume; product range; product technology and sophistication; and markets.
The Industrial Clusters program (IC) is driving the development of Saudi Arabia's Plastics and Packaging cluster, together with Minerals and Metal Processing, Automotive, and Solar Energy.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a large, prosperous market: it is the largest market in Middle East-North Africa (MENA); its population of 30 million is growing by 2.7% a year; GDP per capita is $21643; and the economy is growing by 5%-6% a year.
Saudi Arabia also offers investors:
- The world's largest reserves of oil and fourth-largest reserves of gas, the key natural resources used to make plastics and plastic packaging
- The abundant, reliable energy needed for high-volume production
- Easy, tariff-free access to Gulf Cooperation Council and Greater Arab Free Trade Area markets
- Rapid access to over 400 million consumers in the wider MENA region
Saudi Arabia Plastics and Packaging cluster is also supported by close industrial-academic connections and strong R&Ds, operated flexibly with various degrees of public- and private-sector participation.
In Riyadh, the Higher Institute for Plastic Fabrication (HIPF) has particularly close industry links. This $67 million, 60,000 m2 training centre provides a range of short courses for plastic processing and fabrication, a diploma degree and advanced courses.
Majority state-owned company SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) is a leading producer of PVC, polyester, polyolefins and other polymers. SABIC's Plastics Application Development Center is under construction at the Riyadh Techno Valley research complex at King Saud University.
SABIC is also one of the Saudi and US partners involved in the High Institute for Elastomer Industries at Yanbu, a 43,000 m2 vocational training centre which started 2013.
In Jubail, the major petrochemical producer National Industrialization Company operates its dedicated TASNEE Plastics Research Center.