Home > OUR NEWS & MEDIA> Press Releases> 2018> Dr. Jawahaey keynote speaker at GPCA annual conference
24 September 2018

Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) President Dr. Abdulrahman Jawahery is taking part in the Ninth Annual Conference of the Gulf Petrochemical and Chemical Association (GPCA) in the Oman capital, Muscat.

Dr. Jawahary, who is the GPCA Vice Chairman, said the event is a good platform to discuss the global role of the fertilizer industry and to speak about its impact as well as the challenges it faces.

He added the meeting provides an opportunity to also speak about the role of fertilizers in addressing these long-term challenges, reiterating that the Middle East leads the world in sharing best practices and exchanging ideas for the future.

Dr. Jawahery spoke of the changing landscape of the regional fertilizer industry and highlighted the industry's history. He said it began as a vision put forward by the gulf countries’ leaders to improve and develop sustainable development. He pointed out that the idea was to take advantage of the natural gas reserves in the region.

He said the industry is one of the most important sources of social and economic development in the region and has contributed to the creation of jobs and growth.

Dr. Jawahery praised the importance of the Gulf region as an important global player in fertilizer markets. He said the region has contributed a large part of the world's fertilizers to meet the growing demand for food. Since 2016, he said, it is the largest source of urea with a global market share of 32 per cent. He added the Gulf region is also the second largest exporter of DAP, accounting for 14 per cent of total exports and the largest source of ammonia with a global market share of 11 per cent.

He said the fertilizer industry in the Arabian Gulf has achieved growth over the past decades, stressing that this would continue to be the case until 2030. He said the industry is expected to add an estimated 8.1 million tonnes of fertilizer production to 38.9 million tonnes, which would enhance its status as an important production centre.

Speaking on the state of the global economy and its direct impact on industry across the Gulf region and the world, he said fertilizer consumption and demand are closely related to GDP and population growth. He said the improvement in global growth reached 3.1 per cent, which brought some cautious optimism to fertilizer markets. He spoke of the World Bank figures, which forecast global growth to slow down over the next two years due to trade, investment and tight financing conditions.

Dr. Jawahery said growth is expected to increase in this region during the current year and next year, especially in light of the recovery of oil prices after the decline in mid-2014. He said it is expected to increase in the Gulf countries to 2.1 per cent this year and 2.7 per cent the next year. He added this would be supported by the high rate of fixed investment with the expectation of further growth of the economies of oil-importing countries.

Dr. Jawahery pointed out that fertilizer demand has historically been linked to many variables and often interrelated factors such as agricultural production, prices and regulatory policies. He stressed the fertilizer industry is one of the most important industries in the world, that brings prosperity and growth to the agricultural sector.

He said it also ensures global prosperity in line with the challenges, which will also become increasingly complex and difficult, especially in light of the rapid rise of the world population, expected to increase by one billion more by 2050.

The African continent, he said, is one of the most important fertilizer import markets, and will double its population, which will need to increase world agricultural production at 70 per cent of the current levels.

Dr. Jawahery said the challenges related to land availability, depletion of groundwater and the reduction of the agricultural labour force means there is a need to resort to the cultivation of more food with fewer resources, and the use of new technologies. This, he said, would play an active role in closing this gap.

Dr. Jawahery spoke about the regional challenges, pointing out that if the fertilizer is used correctly, it is possible to protect the soil resources. He added that the demand for water in the GCC countries has increased by 140 per cent over the last decade, with 85 per cent of the water resources in agriculture and irrigation. He said the fertilizer industry contributes positively by investing in water conservation projects throughout the region, reduces water and energy consumption for their operations, and works hard to use advanced technologies and best practices to reduce carbon emissions, thus contributing to sustainability.

"As the demand for food continues to grow worldwide, the need for food crops will be greater,” he said. “The Arabian Gulf region is an important area for dry land agriculture, representing 40 per cent of the world's land area.” In total, one billion people rely on dry land crops for their daily diet.

Dr. Jawahery pointed to the importance of research and innovation, saying the industry will need to invest more to meet new trends. He said the focus should be on research and innovation to address the challenges associated with the fertilizer industry in the GCC countries.

Dr. Jawahery thanked His Excellency Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, the Omani Minister of Oil and Gas and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oman Oil Company for his patronage of the event. He also thanked Oman Fertilizers Company (OMIVCO) and Oman Oil Company, sponsors and exhibitors for their invaluable support and expressed thanked and appreciated the GPCA for its efforts to support and develop the fertilizer industry in the region.

The annual conference attracts a number of key players in the strategic industry from the Arab world and other countries, as well as fertilizer consumers and government representatives, who exchange information and experiences on the latest developments in the fertilizer industry, explore and discuss key issues related to food security and long strategies.

The fertilizer industry in the GCC countries is one of the largest industries and a major pillar of the economies of a number of Arab and Gulf nations. The GCC countries are witnessing rapid development in the chemical fertilizer industry with increasing production and export to various international markets due to the large reserves of raw materials required for their production.