Commodity exporters rarely squeeze most of the value out of the raw materials they produce. Gulf countries are no exception. For the past half-century, the oil-and-gas-rich region has supplied fossil fuels to power global economic activity, but largely failed to industrialize beyond its role as a commodity exporter.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to challenge the status quo and bring a larger chunk of the oil value chain closer to home. The country’s state oil company, Saudi Aramco, joined forces with TotalEnergies in December 2022 to build a new $11 billion petrochemicals complex in Jubail.