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July 14, 2015
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Middle East: Saudi Arabia's Energy Events Power Ahead


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The Gulf owes much of its wealth to oil and gas and although destinations are striving to diversify their economies to pave the way for future growth, the sector remains a vital part of the region’s DNA. Taking a look at Saudi Arabia, the country boasts the world’s largest conventional crude oil reserves and has the capacity to produce 12.5 million barrels of oil each day. 

Currently, a hot topic of conversation is how the kingdom is reinforcing its downstream operation to help drive industrial diversification. In layman’s terms, the downstream industry refers to the refining of petroleum crude oil and the processing and purifying of raw natural gas. It also covers marketing and distributing related products that reach consumers in the form of petrol, wax and jet fuel, for instance. It’s a trend that’s being felt across the wider Middle East. 

Indeed, the UAE has undertaken multi-billion dollar downstream expansion projects with an aim of cementing its position at the top of the global refining and petrochemical industry. In turn, the evolving industry is providing meeting and event organisers with new ideas for themes as well as opportunities for building their current portfolios to better suit market dynamics. Oil and gas shows in Saudi Arabia represented 9.5 percent of all meeting and event business in 2014 and are estimated to comprise 4.5 percent in 2015. 

Leading events in the field include Riyadh International Exhibition for Oil & Gas in March; as well as Saudi International Exhibition for Oil and Gas; and International Exhibition for Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals – both of which will take place in November. As the energy sector further develops – consumption continues to rise (especially demand for electricity) and with energy-related foreign investments valued at over US$79 billion (SAR296.35 billion) for the private sector alone – those in the meeting and event sector are leveraging opportunities for growth. 

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