The petrochemical sector has remained critical for our modern society. The significant importance of the petrochemical industry lies in generously feeding a myriad of business segments, hence, availing thousands of compelling job opportunities, contributing to gross domestic product (GDP), and generating lucrative revenues for any manufacturing nation worldwide. The downstream industry has been recently regarded as a catalyst to robust economies and a driver of future prosperity and growth.
In this regard, the world’s countries fiercely competed to embrace such profitable industry to secure their people’s welfare. According to Statista.com, China and the USA recorded the highest petrochemical exports and sales in 2021. China surged with export rates to over 55 billion euros, achieving sales of up to 443 billion euros. The USA ranked second, with exports amounting to 36.8 billion euros and sales hiking to 81.6 billion euros.
What is the petrochemical process?
The petrochemicals quest begins by feeding oil refineries and natural gas processing units with crude oil and natural gas to produce base hydrocarbons. Later, base chemicals endure extremely high temperatures and pressure in steam crackers to produce petrochemical intermediates. Petrochemicals are further manufactured into final products that we insatiably use in our daily life.
Where are petrochemicals obtained from?
Petrochemicals are mainly obtained from non-renewable sources, like crude oil and natural gas. During the past 2 decades, biomass and agricultural residues came onstream as green feedstock, perfecting the petrochemicals industry with sustainable features.
5 examples of petrochemicals:
Primary petrochemicals family consists of:
What are petrochemicals used for?
Petrochemicals are widely used in flooring & insulating materials, soaps & detergents, epoxy resins, synthetic fibers & rubbers, pesticides, explosives, solvents, paints, drugs, fertilizers, and on top of all, plastics.
What products are made from petrochemicals?
The uses of petrochemicals today vary in range to serve a myriad of industries. From building materials, PVC pipes, chemicals, packaging, adhesives, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and automotive spare parts, to electronic apparatus, cosmetics, lubricants, gasoline, diesel, asphalt, and molding. All those industries profoundly depend on petrochemicals in their manufacturing process.
World’s largest petrochemical complex
On the world’s petrochemicals map, and specifically in Gujarat – India, The Jamnagar Refinery Complex stands tall as the largest oil refinery ever established on earth. Inaugurated on 7500 acres by Bechtel in 2000 and owned by Reliance Industries Limited, the groundbreaking refinery has the capacity to produce 1.24 million barrels/day. The petrochemical plant It distinctively houses some of the world’s largest production units for the Fluidized Catalytic Cracker (FCC), Coker, Alkylation, Para-xylene, Polypropylene, Refinery Off-gas Cracker (ROG), and Petcoke gasification plants. It is worth mentioning that a state-of-the-art extension was built in 2008 to complement the track record of success achieved and increase the daily production by 2 folds
Petrochemical companies in Egypt
Looking at the petrochemical market on the public/business sector’s scale, and under the umbrella of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, the Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM) was established in 2002 to manage and develop the petrochemicals industry in Egypt through implementing The National Petrochemicals Master Plan. ECHEM is currently monitoring, developing, and integrating 8 successfully operating projects:
- Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Company (ETHYDCO) – Alexandria.
- Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Company (SIDPEC) – Alexandria.
- Misr Fertilizers Production Company (MOPCO) – Damietta.
- Egyptian Petrochemicals Company (EPC) – Alexandria.
- Egyptian Linear Alkyl Benzene Company (E-LAB) – Alexandria.
- Egyptian Methanex Methanol Co. (E-Methanex) – Damietta.
- Egyptian Propylene & PolyPropylene Company (EPPC) – Port Said.
- Egyptian Styrene & PolyStyrene Company (ESTYRENICS) – Alexandria.
On top of ECHEM’s promising under-execution projects comes the Red Sea National Refining and Petrochemicals Company. Located at the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) with a total investment cost of US$7.5bn, the petrochemical project aims at producing almost 2.7 million tons/year of petrochemical products, in addition to 535 thousand tons/year of petroleum products.
On the private sector’s scale, powered by ACE Moharram. Bakhoum heritage, Anchorage Investments fuels competition by launching Anchor Benitoite’s cutting-edge petrochemicals complex at the heart of SCZone. With a total investment cost of US$2bn and an estimated plant capacity of 1.75 million tons/year, the project pledges to transform Egypt into a regional petrochemicals hub, boosting its competitiveness through localizing the downstream industry in Egypt.
To conclude, the significant importance of the petrochemical industry can be eminently touched in any nation worldwide by the economy’s strength and the fertile production output. Being a heavy industry, we must always recognize the beneficial impact of the petrochemicals industry in opening new channels of investment, availing thousands of job opportunities, generating revenues, and significantly contributing to GDP