Recycling waste plastics and revolutionary upgrading processes are the targets of recent deals aimed at squeezing value out of state-owned hydrocarbon riches.

GCC state oil behemoths have historically taken a conservative approach to downstream innovation. But this is changing as governments look to eke out maximum natural resource value.

In Saudi Arabia, Aramco aims to become a world-beating petroleum firm across all sectors: the purchase of a 70% majority stake in Sabic is key to its...