One of the fastest growing sectors that have greatly contributed to the growing economy of the world is the petrochemical industry. Petroleum products are a big part of a revolution that separated the modern world from its pre-industrial era.
The petrochemical industry is a sector centered on petrochemical production. Basically, it relies on the major raw materials such as oil and natural gas as their product’s primary ingredients, falling under the category of organic chemicals and is divided into two classifications based on their feedstocks: oil refinery streams and natural gas liquids (NGL). The main organic chemicals that are largely produced in massive volumes are ethylene, methanol, butadiene, benzene, propylene, toluene, and xylenes.
The industry plays a relatively irreplaceable role in the production of energy supply that fuels the increasing energy demands, especially for developed countries, focusing on industrial and technological growth. Moreover, the industry itself occupies an important part in many countries’ manufacturing as well as consuming sectors especially in Canada where the third largest oil reserves in the world are located.
In the United States, the petrochemical industry serves as the backbone of the country’s economy, supporting and providing millions of jobs to its citizens. Furthermore, reports reveal that the industry contributes a total value of almost $1 trillion (about 7.3% of U.S. GDP) to the American economy.
Although petrochemicals are the products obtained directly from petroleum, other chemicals can also be acquired from fossil fuels such as natural gas or coal and even from renewable sources. This is a very important point especially since in 2050, experts estimate that the world could reach the limit of petroleum extraction.