Have you ever wondered how your tires, cosmetics, and plastics are made? Those are just a few of the many goods produced through petrochemical engineering. This branch of engineering deals with the chemical substance of petrochemicals. These are derived from a combination of crude oil and natural gases that create petrochemical derivatives that are used as raw materials.
The significance of petrochemicals in our quotidian lives is enough to raise our curiosities regarding how they’re made. Petrochemicals are an essential component for a large list of everyday goods. With an increasing global population and the speedy pace of our modern society, the demand for necessary items is only growing. So, what is petrochemical engineering all about?
What is petrochemical engineering?
Petrochemical engineering is closely linked to petroleum engineering, also known as oil and gas engineering. Petroleum engineering is an intrinsic part of petrochemical engineering since the production of petrochemicals requires the extraction of crude oil that is later refined in petrochemical plants and combined with natural gases to create petrochemical derivatives.
Is petrochemical engineering the same as petroleum engineering?
To produce petrochemicals, we need petroleum. Does that mean that both of their fields of engineering are the same? In the area of petroleum engineering, engineers are responsible for looking for oil reservoirs and developing ways to extract oil effectively without causing any harm to the surrounding environment. In the production process of petrochemicals, this extracted petroleum goes into a refinery where it’s converted to create petrochemicals but also fuels for transportation, heating, and more.
Petroleum and Petrochemical engineering is often said to be synonymous, yet they simply serve different purposes.
What do petrochemical engineers do?
In petrochemical engineering, engineers research and develop new ways to decompose oil and petroleum to create new ways to produce petrochemicals. Their duties include the management of a plant or a refinery’s production process and applying research and development in chemistry labs. The field of petrochemical engineering is mainly solution-driven and problem-solving.
Engineers in this field usually begin their careers by obtaining math, physics, chemistry, and biology degrees. They usually find themselves working within large multinational corporations. Other advanced positions in petrochemical engineering require further studies, such as master or doctorate degrees.
What is project management in the petrochemical industry?
In the petrochemical industry, project management involves close coordination and collaboration with numerous stakeholders. Planning in project management within this industry is crucial as it often deals with large-scale projects. In petrochemical engineering, project management is key to ensuring engineering tasks’ safety, quality, cost, and schedules.
Is petrochemical engineering a good career?
With a growing demand for goods using petrochemicals, the job market for petrochemical engineering is growing parallelly. From 2020 to 2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% increase in employment opportunities for petrochemical engineers, with over 2,000 openings annually. This outlook may improve because of factors like oil prices, which will likely increase demand for additional oil reserves and extraction.
Petrochemical engineering often pays well, with engineers likely working in big corporations that can earn more than $80,000 per year on average. This salary could vary depending on factors like location and level of education.
The world heavily depends on oil and gas, making petrochemical (and petroleum engineers) essential workforce members. They contribute value that can reach a global scale and can get to travel for work. Therefore, being a petrochemical engineer is crucial in the subsistence of industries and economies. This area of engineering also partly deals with the environment, with research looking to limit the impact of petrochemical production and petroleum extraction as little as possible.
Global Petrochemical Market
Looking at the petrochemical market globally, it’s anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.2% from 2022 to 2030 reaching a value of $556.09 billion in 2021. A major factor that is driving the market is an increase in the demand for downstream products from various end-use industries like construction, pharmaceuticals, and automotive, which is attributed to an increase in the demand for petrochemicals.
Petrochemical engineering in Egypt
In Egypt, universities like Cairo University and the Sue Canal University are some of the best universities in petrochemical engineering locally and regionally, being one of the top 10 universities in Africa in this field. Petrochemical engineers working in Egypt can earn about EGP 336,250 a year on average. This salary is estimated to grow 51% reaching an average of EGP 560,154 per year.
Petrochemical engineering companies
Looking at global petrochemical sales, in 2021, China accounted for 45% of global petrochemical sales followed by the United States with a margin of 8.4%. Let’s look at some of the world’s petrochemical engineering companies.
- Rosneft is a Russian integrated oil and gas owned largely by the government of Russia. Its operations involve the exploration, production, transportation, and commercialization of oil and gas, petroleum products, and petrochemicals.
- BASF SE: headquartered in Germany, this multinational corporation supplies chemical, petrochemical, agricultural, oil, construction, plastics, electronics, furniture, electrical, and paper products.
- Valero Energy Corporation administers refineries in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. Some of their products contain standard gasoline and petrochemicals.
In Egypt, large industry players include Anchorage Investments which operates in mining and petrochemical production domestically and regionally. The corporation is actively working on petrochemical projects. In fact, the company is building a petrochemical plant in the Suez Canal and the search for potential contracting companies has already begun in 2022. The project, called Anchor Benitoite, is of regional and domestic significance.
In closing, petrochemicals are vital in producing our daily goods and services. Through the process of petrochemistry, they’re made using petroleum (crude oil) and natural gas.
The field of work behind petrochemical production is known as petrochemical engineering. This area of study is estimated to grow in the coming years. The responsibilities of a petrochemical engineer can reach international dependence as the demand for petrochemicals is rising worldwide. Petrochemical engineers work in a solution-driven environment to develop optimal methods for constructing chemical links to produce petrochemicals with the least environmental impact.