The petrochemical industry is an indispensable stream of the chemical industry that generates organic intermediate products. The receiving end buyers who use petrochemical products like refinery products, natural gas, plastic, rubber, and fiber raw-materials can't even imagine the multiple processes needed to convert these chemicals to daily use products.
Petrochemicals are an indispensable part of our day-to-day activities. That includes household items, electricals, medicinal drugs, and even used in specific departments like renewable energy and crime detection. The increase in the use of petrochemical products in modern lives has enabled refineries and mining plants that subsequently created multiple jobs in the related fields. Thus it became a vital part of many economies sustaining the world.
Types of Petrochemicals
Chemical outcomes made out of petroleum and natural gas are called petrochemicals. They are basically of two categories; Olefins and Aromatics. Naphtha, ethane, propane, liquified petroleum gas(LPG), and methane are refined and processed from natural gas and crude oil. On its way to end-user, these petrochemicals need to undergo several processes. Steam cracking, catalytic reforming, and propane dehydrogenation further transform them into several varieties of materials with different characteristics that have multiple applications.
Under specialty chemicals comes adhesives, agrichemicals, cleaning materials, cosmetic additives, elastomers, food additives, and lubricants. Specialty chemicals are not products of oil and gas. Each of these chemicals that are used industrially for specific purposes have limited uses. Though most of the specialty chemicals are organic, some are not.
Class of substances with the presence of one or more carbon atom are called organic chemicals. Acyclic hydrocarbons, cyclic alcohols, phenols, ethers, ketone peroxides, carboxylic acids, and sugars are examples of organic chemicals.
For transportation feasibility of raw materials, most petrochemical industries keep their centers near refineries, oil mines, and natural gas resources. Some big league infrastructural development in petrochemical industries are in Louisiana, Texas, Saudi Arabia, India, China, and Japan. On their way to be self-sufficient in petrochemicals, China became the world's largest producer of chemicals. Most of the business happens around a variety of oil products; some are specifically into petrochemicals.
In most cases, petrochemical products get manufactured in fewer quantities due to transportation challenges. To set up a pipeline is not an economically viable option. So they have to be taken by rail and parcel tankers. Companies trade in future contracts to escape exposure against feedstock prices depending upon the derivative market to lock prices. The availability of options contacts is there in trading platforms.
In 1991, notable changes happened in the domestic petrochemical industry as economic reforms. Market forces were allowed to predict investment and growth through delicensing and deregulation. Ethylene, considered as the main building block for petrochemicals, and Polymers consumption as generic plastic products dictate the growth in GDP. Especially polymer consumption is back and forth related to creating an effect in the GDP of a country. An increase in production and consumption can give a well predictable rise in the GDP.
The potential and growth of petrochemical industries have encouraged the world to dream big after analyzing the uprising production and demand in the industry. The petrochemical sector plans the development of value-added, quality products at globally competitive prices. Designing innovative new products with applications that can help sustainable development using environmentally friendly processes and technology is the future.
Necessities such as food, water, shelter, clothing, and health can be addressed more efficiently with the effective use of petrochemical products. Even in infrastructure, information, communication, and entertainment, new materials are going to play an important part.
The plastic industry is going to penetrate every other field.
- Into modern farming through plasticulture
- Packaging of foods and eatables
- In automobiles and consumer durables
- Cost-effective plastic constructions
- Telecommunications and IT services
The substantial potential for growth in technical textiles includes the production of performance fibers and popular synthetic fibers like Synthetic, Acrylic, and yarn.
The Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) should help Polymer and Plastics department by promoting Research and Development. Including Human Resource Planning and Development to work on the potential of this industry will make the future goals come true.