Editorial October 2021 Chemical Industry and things happening in India

Rajiv Parikh

16 Nov 2021
The Chemical Industry comprises of the companies which produces industrial chemicals. Oil, natural gas, air, water, metals and minerals are converted into more than 70000 products which are used in manufacturing final consumable items. The industrial revolution lead to the manufacturing of products on a large scale. One of the first chemicals to be produced in large amounts was sulfuric acid.

The discovery of bleaching powder was made by reacting chlorine with dry slaked lime and proved to be a cheap and successful product and production went from just 52 tons in 1799 to almost 10,000 tons just five years later.

There is no "chemical-free" substance. Everything around us is a chemical - the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the planet we're standing on. After a number of bad experiences with various substances, society has grown to view anything referred to as a "chemical" with fear and suspicion. For every chemical compound that has caused societal, environmental or health issues (asbestos, DDT, thalidomide, chlorofluorocarbons), there are dozens of others which have caused no harm or provided us with great benefits (penicillin, Kevlar, Nylon). When people (irrationally) fear a substance simply because "it is a chemical", we call it chemophobia.

The production of Total Major Chemicals and Petrochemicals in 2021-22 (upto May 2021) was 92.8 lakh MT. CAGR in production of Total Chemicals and Petrochemicals during the period 2015-16 to 2019-20 is 5.74%. Alkali Chemicals accounts for around 72% of the total production of Major Chemicals for the year 2021-22 (upto May 2021). The petrochemical demand is expected to grow at 7.5% CAGR from FY 2019-23, with polymer demand growing at 8% The agrochemicals market in India is expected to grow at 8% CAGR reaching $3.7 bn by FY22 and $4.7 bn by FY25.

The specialty chemicals constitute 18% of total chemicals and petrochemicals market in India. As of FY19, the total market size is around $32 bn. The demand for speciality chemicals is expected to grow at 12% CAGR from FY19-22. Export of Plastic and Linoleum was valued at $753.30 bn in August 2021 with a positive growth of 16.16% over exports of $648.49 bn in August 2020.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to introduce the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in Advance Chemistry Cell Battery for Enhancing India’s Manufacturing Capabilities and Enhancing Exports – Atmanirbhar Bharat. Srichakra Polyplast has commissioned a food-grade quality recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) pellet facility and a new polyolefins recycling facility to produce deodorised bottle-to-bottle grade quality polyolefin pellets.

The Hyderabad-based plastic recycling and waste management company has invested $10 mn to strengthen its recycling capabilities for high grade recycled plastic to customers in India and global markets such as Europe and US. West Bengal received around 15 proposals for manufacturing biofuel, entailing an investment of Rs 2,666 crore.

Industry Trends are as follows:

India’s agrochemical sector is projected to grow at 8-10% CAGR till 2025.

The petrochemicals segment in India is expected to see a domestic demand growth of 8% CAGR over the next decade. Moreover, petrochemical capacity is projected to grow by more than 40 percent over the next five to seven years.

As of FY18, the Indian fertilizer market was around $64 bn. The market is expected to grow at 13% CAGR from FY19-23 to around $138 bn.

Specialty Chemicals
Specialty chemicals account for more than 50% of total chemical exports from India


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