Chemical industry in India - Statistics & Facts

The Indian chemical industry is highly diversified. With a coverage of over 80 thousand products, the south Asian country was the sixth largest producer of chemicals in the world and the third largest in Asia. The industry was valued at over 100 billion U.S. dollars. The products of the chemical industry can be classified into basic, specialty and knowledge chemicals. Basic chemicals dominated the market share in the country at about 57 percent. The specialty chemical industry in India was still in the developing stage. The term refers to chemicals used in low quantities, specifically for end-use applications.

Almost 60 percent of the rural households in the country rely on farming for their livelihood. The agricultural industry faces many challenges in order to cope with the increasing demand of an ever-increasing population. Industrial agricultural has, therefore become crucial for the economy as well as survival. The Indian agrochemical sector was the fourth largest in the world. It formed the largest specialty chemical segment with a market value of approximately six billion U.S. dollars.

The country was also the third largest consumer of polymers worldwide in 2019 and produced over nine million metric tons of polymers domestically. Polymer demand was forecast to reach the highest in the world. The plastic industry was a prime driver for the increased polymer demand. Negligence and lack of awareness towards the harmful effects of plastic to the environment have been the drivers for the industry. The plastic packaging industry in the country was forecast to reach a market value of over 70 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, more than twice the size from five years ago.

Being the third largest consumer of primary energy, the demand for petroleum products in the region was estimated to be over 200 million metric tons in 2018. With robust growth in the automotive and manufacturing sectors, the demand for petroleum products was estimated to grow further, as suggested by an annual growth rate of over two percent in 2018.

Both public and private sector companies have taken the advantage of the immense growth potential of the chemical industry in India. Reliance Petroleum Limited based in Ahmedabad deals with the downstream oil business. With an annual capacity of more than 197 thousand cubic meters per stream day, it was the largest refinery in the world. In 2018, the revenue of Reliance’s refining business was over 4.3 trillion Indian rupees.
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited on the other hand, is mainly a government-owned oil and gas company based in the city of Mumbai. With a refinery throughput of over 30 million metric tons, the company was the second largest downstream oil company across India. However, the government could sell its 53.3 percent stake in the company to ensure full privatization. The privatization was expected to attract global demands and investments from international players into a fast-growing oil market. Concerns over environmental damage and increasing electric vehicle penetration could rattle fuel prices and demand making the BPCL buyout an insecure value proposition.

Being the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, United States and EU, India pledged to cut short its emissions by 33-35 percent by the year 2030 under the Paris Agreement. The country seems to be well on track to achieve this target. It is already close to achieving its target of power generation through non-fossil fuel sources, almost a decade in advance. Such developments are likely to set the country as an example for other developing economies.

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Chemical industry in India

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Oil and gas

Major players