Saudi Arabia is among the world’s leading producers of petrochemicals. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), now majority owned by Saudi Aramco, is the largest chemical company in Saudi Arabia and a global leader in the production of petrochemicals and plastics. Enabled by low feedstock costs and large-scale capacity expansion in recent decades, the petrochemical sector is the second pillar of the Saudi economy. Chemical exports, of which petrochemicals command the largest share, represent 35 percent of non-oil exports. However, potential for growth remains significant as a large share of Saudi domestic production consists of basic chemicals while more advanced specialty products are produced in other markets. Government investments in technology, production capacity, and gas exploration in line with Vision 2030 have supported broad growth in both feedstocks and downstream production.
As the sixth largest natural gas producer in the world, Saudi Arabia benefits from a high level of proven reserves, competitive extraction costs, and a well-developed basic chemical industry. Further gas exploration remains critical as population growth and rising global energy demand has driven concerns over supply shortages. In 2021, Saudi Aramco awarded more than SAR38 billion ($10 billion) in contracts for subsurface exploration of the vast Jafurah unconventional gas field. The reliable supply of natural gas for both domestic energy use and economic diversification remains a core priority of the Kingdom.