Chemical Industry

The Chemical Industry


The chemical industry is at the heart of manufacturing. It converts animal, vegetable and mineral raw materials into a host of products for use by both industrial and household consumers. Lightweight and durable plastic materials help fuel efficiency in transport; insulation materials save energy in buildings; paints protect and extend the life of metal and timber; soap, shampoos and detergents keep us clean; disinfectants and pharmaceuticals safeguard our health. Computers and telecommunications systems could not function without essential chemicals.


The industry grew up using locally occurring resources such as salt, coal, limestone, vegetable matter and animal fats. Today, it is part of a global industry primarily using natural gas and oil fractions such as naphtha as its dominant raw materials. There is a keen awareness of the need to replace fossil resources with sustainable alternatives both as raw materials and for process energy.



The Petrochemical Manufacturing Industry (NAICS 324110, 325110)


This industry manufactures petro-chemicals, which are chemicals derived from petroleum and natural gas (organic compounds that are not burned as fuel). Key products include ethylene, propylene, butylene, benzene, toluene, styrene, xylene, ethyl benzene and cumene. These products are basic building blocks used in the production of consumer products, automotive components and various durable and non-durable goods. Organic compounds like ethyl alcohol and inorganic chemicals like carbon black are not included in this industry.


Olefins and aromatics are the building-blocks for a wide range of materials such as solvents, detergents, and adhesives. Olefins are the basis for polymers and oligomers used in plastics, resins, fibers, elastomers, lubricants, and gels.

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