The chemical industry is one of the world’s largest verticals compared to other industries, and it has a significant influence on almost others. Inorganic chemistry is an important part of the chemical industry and includes the chemistry of carbon-free compounds. Inorganic chemistry is the base for technical areas such as metallurgy and semiconductors.
Agricultural chemistry is a chemical industry segment, which includes genetic engineering and biotechnology. The study of both chemistry and biochemistry is important and essential for agricultural production, processing of raw products into food and beverages, and environmental monitoring and remediation Food supply are declining globally, as an increasing area of arable land is being used for non-agricultural purposes such as for construction, housing, production of raw materials for biofuels, and a range of other purposes. Scientific approaches and methods continue to contribute to bridging the demand-supply gap, and fertilizers, pesticides, and antibiotics play ever-increasing roles in this field. Chemicals used most widely in agriculture applications are in the form of fertilizers, and are added to the soil in which crops have been planted. Fertilizers provide nutrients required by the plants and enhance growth. Other agrochemical products apart from fertilizers include insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
Among some of the major companies providing agricultural products are BASF SE, DowDuPont Inc., China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation.
According to Statista, total revenue from the global chemical industry was US$ 4.25 Trillion in 2017.
North America Chemical Industry:
The US is among the largest producers of chemical products globally. Chemical shipments in the US are regulated by the Department of Transportation, the International Air Transport Association, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulate the movement of chemicals to industries and consumers through any mode of transportation.
The US Government has developed and implemented standards for classifying, handling, and packaging various shipments within the country.
Europe Chemical Industry:
The chemical industry represents around 7% of Europe’s industrial production. Two-thirds of the chemicals produced are supplied to other sectors within the manufacturing industry. Challenges faced by manufacturers in countries in the region include stringent government regulations, accessing raw materials, and energy/power.
European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) imposes regulations – CLP and REACH – on the chemical manufacturing industry. ECHA aids chemical companies by providing associated information as well as addressing concerns, ensuring compliance along with safe utilization of chemicals, and legislation. These regulations aim to ensure the protection of human health and the environment from hazards associated with chemicals.
Asia Pacific Chemical Industry:
The chemical market in China accounts for half of the global chemical market in terms of both, volume and revenue. This major growth of the chemical industry in the country is attributed to continuous and high investment, intense competition, and easy availability of raw materials. China is the largest chemical producer globally and accounted for 35.3 % of global chemical sales in 2017.
Global companies such as Akzo Nobel, BASF SE, Arkema, and others have set up R&D footholds in China to support the chemical industry in the Asia Pacific. Akzo Nobel invested US$ 8 Mn in its paint and specialty chemical R&D center in Shanghai, China. In addition, BASF SE launched a new process catalysis R&D facility in Shanghai, China, while Arkema has expanded its R&D center in the country.
Latin America Chemical Industry:
Brazil is by far the largest chemical producer in Latin America. Countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Ecuador have implemented the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the classification and labeling of chemicals.
As a result of the availability of substantial natural resources in countries in the region, the chemicals industry is primarily focused on supplying raw materials to other countries.
The Middle East & Africa Chemical Industry:
Petrochemicals, polymers, and fertilizers are the largest segments of the chemical industry in the region. Industrial diversification initiatives by local governments and expansions of regional manufacturing capabilities of manufacturing companies are some factors driving the growth of the chemical industry in the region.
Chemical Industry Key Players:
BASF SE: BASF SE was founded in 1865 and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany. The company operates through six segments namely chemicals, materials, industrial solutions, surface technologies, nutrition & care, and agricultural solutions.
DowDuPont Inc.: DowDuPont Inc. is a holding company formed through the merger of The Dow Chemical Company and E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company in December 2015. The company mainly operates through three segments namely: agriculture, materials science, and specialty products. Dow Holdings Inc. serves as a holding company for its materials science business; whereas Corteva, Inc. serves its agriculture business, and DowDuPont holds the specialty products division as an independent and publicly traded company, and was renamed DuPont de Nemours, Inc.
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation: China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation was founded in February 2000, and is headquartered in Beijing, China. The company operates as a subsidiary of China Petrochemical Corporation. China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation operates through five segments namely: exploration & production, refining, marketing & distribution, chemicals, and corporate & others.
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation: Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, also known as SABIC, was founded in 1976, and is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The company operates through three segments namely: petrochemicals, agri-nutrients, and Hadeed.