Statistics and facts on chemical industry
The chemical industry is one of the world’s largest branches and has significant influence on many other industries. Total global chemical shipments are worth an enormous five billion U.S. dollars. Companies like Dow Chemical, DuPont and LyondellBasell from the U.S., BASF and Bayer from Germany, and Saudi-Arabian Saudi Basic Industries are the heavyweights of this branch.
The petrochemical industry largely represents organic chemistry. It is based on carbonic compounds, mainly derived from crude oil and natural gas. Many products used in everyday life include organic substances generated by the petrochemical industry. Colorants, plastics, coatings, detergents, synthetic fibers and medicines are the most prominent examples.
Inorganic chemistry forms another important part of the chemical industry. It includes the chemistry of carbon-free compounds. Historically, inorganic chemistry meant substances that were not created by organic life. However, this distinction is far from clear, because it is possible to produce organic substances from inorganic compounds. Inorganic chemistry is the base for many technical areas like semi-conductors and metallurgy.
Agricultural chemistry is a segment that has became more and more important with the rapid growth of the global population. In the meanwhile, world acreage for food supply is shrinking, because many areas are used for the production of commodities for biofuels. This dilemma can only be managed by the extensive use of agrochemical products such as herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers, to maximize yields per hectare. Trends show that agrochemical companies are becoming increasingly involved in biotechnology and genetic engineering.