The GCC plastics sector increased production by 11 per cent in 2012 as the region continued to expand its share of the global market, according to the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA).

The GCC produced about 21 million tonnes of plastic resin in 2012 compared with 19 million tonnes in 2011, while exports beyond the GCC rose 13 per cent to 17 million tonnes.

“The GCC states share in global plastic trade is growing steadily, a testament to the emergence of the Gulf region as a global plastics production hub,” GPCA secretary-general Abdulwahab al-Sadoun said at a press conference in Dubai.

Gulf producers made up 7.6 per cent of global thermoplastic resins production in 2011 compared with 4.5 per cent, while the GCC also represents 11 per cent of world exports.

Thermoplastic resins include polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) polystyrene and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which go into a variety of applications from packaging to construction.

In 2012, plastics represented 18.6 per cent of the GCC’s petrochemicals capacity, with the UAE expanding at a rate of 20 per cent – the highest in the region.

Out of the GCC’s plastics production capacity of 23.8 million tonnes a year (t/y), Saudi Arabia represents 73.5 per cent, the UAE 10 per cent and Qatar 8.5 per cent, with Kuwait and Oman respectively holding about 4 per cent of regional capacity, according to GPCA.