Seeking further diversity in its economy, the Bahraini government has worked to identify alternatives to the oil and gas sector for generating exports. The development of Bahrain’s petrochemicals industry is the top priority for industrial development in Bahrain. The Bahraini government established the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) in 1980 to produce ammonia and methanol. By 1988, GPIC produced 1,700 tons of petrochemicals daily, which led to the creation of new downstream industries in Bahrain. Within the petrochemical sector, five sub-sectors have grown quickly in recent years: construction chemicals, water treatment chemicals, polymer and plastic additives, paints and coating additives, and oil field chemicals.
Among the leading industries in Bahrain are aluminum, iron, petrochemicals, plastics, glass, food and pharmaceutical, shipbuilding and repair, iron pellets, among others. BAPCO refines 267,000 barrels per day of crude oil to produce: gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, low-sulfur diesel, heavy distillates, fuel oil, asphalt, liquefied petroleum gas, propane, and butane. Gulf Petrochemical Company (GPIC) converts natural gas to ammonia chemical fertilizers and methanol with a production capacity of about 1.5 million tons per year. Aluminum Bahrain (Alba) produces liquid aluminum (molten), as well as rolling and drawing molds and standard alloys for local industries and alloy wheels, with a production capacity of more than one million metric tons per annum, of which 50 percent is allocated to local customers by supplying them with various types of products such as liquid metal, rolling molds, and drag rods.
Bahrain has a well-developed aluminum industry with downstream aluminum manufacturing occupying a significant share of the secondary sector of the economy. There are several investment opportunities in the downstream aluminum value chain, including opportunities to manufacture and supply components for the GCC railway network.
To optimize the utilization of smelter products in Bahrain, several manufacturing plants have been established based on Alba products as a major source of raw materials. The establishment of Alba resulted in the founding of small and medium-sized factories utilizing aluminum for the production of doors, windows, kitchens, and other products. Main local manufacturers include Midal Cables Co., manufacturer of aluminum cables and electrical connectors; Gulf Aluminum Rolling Company (GARMCO), producer of rolled products, rolled metal sheets, and aluminum circuits; Bahrain Aluminum Extrusions Company (BALEXCO), which produces aluminum profiles, metal coating, smelting and fabrication; and Bahrain International Metal Spray Company, producer of powder and aluminum pellets used in the manufacture of dyes and spare parts.
Opportunities for U.S. firms exist in the manufacturing of basic chemicals, fertilizers, nitrogen compounds, plastics and synthetic rubber in primary forms, as well as in the manufacturing of pesticides, cosmetics, and synthetic fibers.
Bahrain presents opportunities for manufacturing in the following subsectors: construction chemicals, water treatment chemicals, polymer and plastic additives, paints and coating additives, and oilfield chemicals.
The Bahraini government plans several new production facilities that could present potential opportunities for U.S. firms. These include:
- A urea plant expansion project under GPIC
- An ammonia plant expansion project under GPIC
- An aromatics plant project under Nogaholding
- A polyethylene & polypropylene plant project under Nogaholding
- A naphtha cracking refinery plant project under Nogaholding
Bahrain Tender Board - www.tenderboard.gov.bh
Bahrain Economic Development Board - www.bahrainedb.com
Bahrain National Oil and Gas Authority – www.noga.gov.bh
Bahrain Petroleum Company – www.bapco.net
Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company – www.gpic.com
Aluminium Bahrain – www.albasmelter.com