The GCC petrochemical capacity is estimated to increase from 77.3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 113 mtpa at the end of 2015, according to the Gulf Petrochemical and Chemicals Association (GPCA), with both long- and short-term opportunities, this was published at GDN. The petrochemical industry in the GCC has been vulnerable to financial crises, as it has consistently seen up and down cycles in recent years. It has been revealed that these cycles follow the refining industry cycles with a six- to 12-month lag. However, with recent advances in the petrochemical industry, the cyclic effect may not be the case anymore. \"The introduction of speciality or performance chemicals has differentiated the refining from petrochemical industries,\" SAS-AIChE chairman Abdulmohsen Al Majnouni said. He was speaking to the World Refining Association on how to capitalise on these opportunities whilst highlighting the vulnerabilities of this sector. \"The more creative manufacturers are in developing new enhanced products, the more sustainable they become,\" Mr Al Majnouni said. \"The more efficient the petrochemicals industry becomes, the less susceptible and less prone to financial crisis they are,\" he added. The GPCA reports that the GCC petrochemicals production capacity grew 13.5 per cent last year to nearly 116 billion tonnes, where Saudi Arabia alone was responsible for more than half of the $100bn in sales generated by the GCC p etrochemical sector. \"The major short-term opportunities are in more integrated speciality and performance chemicals,\" Mr Al Majnouni said. \"These are basically secondary and tertiary industries. This is especially true for Middle East countries as the supply of cheap feedstock is questionable.\" He said that in the long-term, opportunities will be found in the compounding industries, detergent basics, pharmaceuticals, rubbers and tyres. Mr Al Majnouni will participate in the seventh annual Petchem Arabia summit to be held in Bahrain from September 30 to October 3.