Petrochemicals are chemical compounds derived from hydrocarbons, mainly crude oil and natural gas. It can also be obtained from various renewable materials such as sugarcane and corn Petrochemicals are classified on the basis of their chemical structure, namely, olefins, aromatics, and synthesis gas hydrocarbon. Olefin hydrocarbons include ethylene and propylene, while benzene, toluene and xylene belong to the category of aromatic hydrocarbons. Various process such as FCC (fluid catalytic cracking), steam cracking, and catalytic reforming employed in refineries and chemicals plants to obtain the desired product. Petroleum products form an integral aspect of our daily life and find major demand across various end-use industries. Moreover, petrochemicals products find application in various everyday use products such as clothes, houses, automobiles, tooth brush, furniture, irrigation, household items, synthetic detergents, packaging, electronics, performance products, and medical equipment, among others.
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Global Petrochemicals Market Outlook – Oversupply of Crude and Subsequent Decline in Prices Creates Favorably Environment for Market Growth
Large volume of feedstock or raw materials available in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and rapid development of shale gas exploration in the North American region, primarily in the U.S. and Canada, is expected to create a highly conducive environment for growth of the global petrochemicals market. China is one of the largest consumers of petrochemical products. Rampant growth of various end-use industries, in turn fuels demand for petroleum products, especially in emerging economies of Asia Pacific, such as India and China. As per data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), total liquid fuel consumption in Asia Pacific is expected to reach 33.3 million barrels per day (bpd), with China accounting for 80% of the consumption in the region. Moreover, with rapid advancement in the shale gas technology such as the hydro fracturing technology is being explored in the U.S. and Canada to extract petroleum. These factors, in turn, are projected to provide high growth traction to the global petrochemicals market.
Global Petrochemicals Market challenges – Fluctuation of raw materials price and transformation towards green energy
Natural gas, coal and crude are the primary building blocks of petrochemicals industry. While, currently the global crude oil production is at an all-time high, the market is subjected to high fluctuations in production and pricing. This volatility is a major challenge for players in the global petrochemicals market. The market is undergoing a trend of oversupply in feed stock due to large production volumes by the OPEC and Russia. This along with the economic crisis in 2009, has led to rapid decline in demand for crude oil in Europe and Japan. Consumer inclination towards green energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar energy, further inhibits market growth.
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Key players in the market include BASF SE, Sinopec Limited, ExxonMobil, The Dow Chemical Company, Shell Chemical Company, SABIC, LyondellBasell Industries, Total S.A., Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd., Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC and E. I. du Pont de Nemours and SNPC, INEOS, and Reliance Industries.
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