In 2016, the Middle East industrial gases business generated revenues of $2.3bn, up from $875m in 2006, indicating an impressive average annual growth rate of just under 10%. Saudi Arabia represents the largest market in the region, with revenues of just under $790m. Vying to be the second-largest market, Iran, the UAE and Turkey all generate revenues of around $280m each.
Due to the crash in global energy pricing over the past few years, many nations within the region are now looking to diversify their economies, moving away from the traditional reliance on oil and gas. Increasing focus now lies within the tourism, financial services and infrastructure sectors.
But how will this shift affect the region’s industrial gases business? Of course, the region’s oil and gas business will not vanish, and industrial gas revenues will still be bolstered by sales to the refining and chemicals sectors. However, the fastest growing end-users will likely be the manufacturing (cutting and welding applications) and metallurgy industries – due to increased investment and resultant demand from new infrastructure. Sale of medical gases to the healthcare sector is also likely to experience strong growth – the UAE in particular is becoming a new hub for medical tourism.
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