Petrochemicals & their derivatives:
Petrochemicals are a set of chemical compounds derived largely from petroleum (crude oil) or natural gas. The term ‘petrochemical derivatives’ refers to the very large number of other chemicals derived from this base set of chemical compounds in one or more steps. Significant petrochemicals and their derivatives include ethylene (used to produce a variety of products such as polyethylene resin, ethylene glycol, vinyl chloride resin, acetic acid, styrene, and alpha olefin), propylene (used to produce polypropylene resin, acrylonitrile, acrylic acid, propylene oxide, isopropyl alcohol, and acetone), butenes and butadiene (mostly used to produce synthetic rubber), and benzene (used to produce general purpose resins and fibers).
Petrochemicals and their derivatives are used as as feedstock for production of thousands of other products; i.e. they are precursors to a variety of products used to manufacture thousands of end products that people use in their everyday lives. The end products formed using petrochemicals as raw materials include everything made of plastic, fertilizers, medicines and medical devices, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, detergents, furniture, paints, vehicle parts, tires, electronics, and food additives - just to name a few.
The abundance of petroleum from fossil fuels and other renewable resources coupled with a relatively cheap production cost have served as the basis for the modern day boom of petrochemical manufacturing. The global petrochemical market, currently estimated to be over $600 billion in size, is expected to continue growing at a fast pace, driven by favorable operating conditions, rising shale gas exploration activities in the U.S. and Canada, and growing consumption and demand from major end use industries such as healthcare, construction, automotive, electronics, and plastics, both in developed as well as emerging economies. Some of the major players operating in the global petrochemical market include BASF, Sinopec, Exxon Mobil, Chevron Phillips, Dow Chemical, Ineos, LyondellBasell, PetroChina, SABIC, Shell, DuPont, China National Petroleum, and Total.
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