The construction industry in some sectors of the Gulf has taken a hit from the current recession, however as projects are refinanced building is resuming and demand is expected to rise again for plastics pipe. This was the conclusion at the recent AMI conference, Middle East Plastic Pipes 2009 held in Dubai in June.

PVC dominates the world pipe market and according to Neproplast around 40 percent of all PVC produced is used in pipe and fittings. PVC demand in the Middle East and Africa is expected to outstrip production in the near future. A recent study suggested a pipe lifetime of up to 100 years. The Saudi economy showed a record surplus of US$150.6 billion in 2008, a rise of 59 percent compared to 2007. The 2009 budget for the country predicts revenue of US$109.3 billion with government spending of US$126.7 billion: construction projects are expected to grow by 4 percent and US$9.4 billion has been allocated for water, agriculture and infrastructure projects. The population of Saudi Arabia is 60 percent young people, so demand is expected to grow for schools and housing. On average the local market for PVC pipe has grown by 10 percent annually since 2000 and is expected to grow by 4 percent in 2009. The current issues in Saudi Arabia are the limited availability of raw materials, the need to produce lead-free pipes, competition with other pipe materials and some poor quality pipe in the marketplace.

PVC was introduced in Pakistan in 1968 and the single source is M/S Engro Polymer and Chemicals. Shafisons Engineering described the country as conservative and only slowly adopting plastics pipe, preferring materials such as asbestos reinforced cement. There is fierce competition between the PVC pipe producers and issues include the low standard of training for installers and a need to value quality. There is great potential for growth as the use of PVC pipes is around 0.35 kg/person – one of the lowest per capita rates in the world. The company is pushing the use of PVC pipe in water distribution networks and also produces larger diameter sewerage pipe and PPRC pipe for hot and cold water. It works to British (BS), Pakistani (PS) and German (DIN) standards. In 2008 it produced 20 inch diameter sewer pipe for a 6.5 km installation in Karachi.

Developments for various companies have been described. These include:

  • Lubrizol Advanced Materials
  • GF Piping Systems
  • Krah AG
  • BMC Gulf
  • Tasnee
  • Cabot
  • Noavaran Baspar (NAB)
  • Uponor
  • Aliaxis
  • Cosmoplast Industrial Co
  • Haroon Rasheed
  • Farassan Manufacturing
  • Future Pipe Industries
  • Autonational. Mandrel

The MENA region is still a developing arena for the plastic pipe industry. The next focused networking conference, Middle East Plastic Pipes 2010, will be held from 17-19 May 2010 in Dubai.

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