Asian Chemical Connections
The bulk industrial chemicals category includes those chemicals and materials produced in the chemical industry in large quantities, typically using continuous processes although they may be manufactured in large batch equipment. The price of these chemicals tends to be a more important factor than their performance.
Both organic and inorganic chemicals can be produced on a large scale. Organic chemicals are materials that contain hydrogen and carbon atoms and sometimes other elements such as nitrogen, oxygen and halogens. Inorganic chemicals are generally considered to embrace all substances except hydrocarbons and their derivatives.
Petrochemicals are primarily organic chemicals made from hydrocarbon raw materials sourced from crude oil, natural gas or coal. Olefins (ethylene, propylene and butadiene) and aromatics (benzene, toluene, xylenes) are the primary building block chemicals to make petrochemical intermediates and final products.
Many petrochemicals are processed into polymers for use in plastics, resins, fibres, elastomers and coatings. Petrochemicals are also used to make a wide range of end-use products such as detergents, adhesives, solvents, plasticizers, lubricants, etc.
Fertilizers can be organic or inorganic materials which contain one or more of the primary plant nutrients and sometimes secondary or trace nutrients. The primary nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium while secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium and sulphur.
If nitrogen is the main element, it is described as nitrogen fertilizer supplied as anhydrous ammonia or solutions containing nitrogen derived from ammonia. The ammonia can be directly applied to the soil or used to produce other compounds such as ammonium nitrate and urea. Ammonia can also be used in combination with phosphate rock and potassium to form N-P-K compound fertilizers.
Large volume inorganic chemicals are produced by the chemical industry. These include chlorine, caustic soda, titanium dioxide, and many carbonates, sulphates and halides.
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INSIGHT: Polyolefins producers scrabble for answers
“As commodity grade polyolefins markets become harder going higher-cost producers are increasingly shifting up the value chain.”
VIDEO - ICIS Americas Lunchtime Bulletin 19 June 2013