Chemicals & Petrochemicals


The chemical industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in all developed and emerging countries. The chemical industry creates an immense variety of products which impinge on virtually every aspect of our lives.
While many of the products from the industry, such as detergents, soaps and perfumes, mineral acids, are purchased directly by the consumer others are used as intermediates to make other products, For example, in Europe, 70% of chemicals manufactured are used to make products by other industries including other branches of the chemical industry itself. The industry uses a wide range of raw materials, from air and minerals to oil.

There have been significant changes in the chemical industry over the last 10 years or so, not only in Europe and in the US but particularly in China, India, and the rest of Asia. With increasing competition worldwide, innovation remains crucial in finding new ways for the industry to satisfy its increasingly sophisticated, demanding and environmentally-conscious consumers.
Basic chemicals, produced in large quantities, are mainly sold within the chemical industry and to other industries before becoming products for the general consumer. For example, ethanoic acid is sold on to make esters, much of which in turn is sold to make paints and at that point sold to the consumer. As another example, Huge quantities of ethylene are transported as a gas by pipeline around Iran and sold to companies making poly (ethylene) and other polymers. These are then sold on to manufacturers of plastic components before being bought by the actual consumer.
Chemicals are divided into three following categories:

1- Basic inorganics
2- Chemicals derived from oil, known as petrochemicals
3- Polymers

Basic ‘inorganics’ are a type of chemicals used throughout manufacturing and agriculture. Inorganic compounds are mostly derived from metal and non-metallic minerals. Examples of inorganic chemicals include acids, metals, nitrates, fluoride, silicones, etc. They are produced in very large amounts, some in millions of tonnes a year, and include chlorine, sodium hydroxide, sulfuric and nitric acids and chemicals for fertilizers. Producers of these chemicals worldwide work continuously to reduce costs while satisfying stringent environmental and safety standards.
The term ‘petrochemical’ can be misleading as the same chemicals could increasingly derive from sources other than oil, such as coal and biomass. An example is methanol, commonly produced from oil and natural gas in the Europe and Middle East but from coal in China. Another is ethylene, derived from oil and gas in the Middle East but increasingly from biomass in Brazil. The production of chemicals from petroleum (and increasingly from coal and biomass) has seen many technological changes and the development of industrial sites and chemical parks throughout the world. The hydrocarbons in crude oil and gas, which are mainly straight chain alkanes, are first separated using their differences in boiling point, as is described in the unit Distillation. They are then converted to hydrocarbons that are more useful to the chemical industry, such as branched chain alkanes, alkenes and aromatic hydrocarbons. These processes are described in the unit, cracking and related refinery processes.
In turn, these hydrocarbons are converted into a very wide range of basic chemicals which are immediately useful (petrol, ethanol) or are subjected to further reactions to produce a useful end product (for example, phenol to make resins and ammonia to make fertilizers). The main use for petrochemicals is in the manufacture of a wide range of ‘polymers’.


Iran is one of the world’s richest countries for enjoying massive oil and gas reserves. Iran is trading each tonne of crude oil at around $500. If crude oil is converted into other products, particularly petrochemicals, its value could increase by 16 times.
Petrochemical is a major industry in Iran. As an important source of non-oil revenues, it plays a significant role in the expansion of local industries, the development and localization of technologies and the growth of its downstream industries. It is also important for the industry’s research and development activities. Diversity of feeds tocks, access to international waters and highly- qualified workforce are among the major advantages of the industry.
The history of Iran’s petrochemical industry goes to 1963 when a fertilizer plant was built in the city of Shiraz. One year later, the state-owned National Petrochemical Company (NPC) was established to spearhead the development and policy-making for the industry. After first five-year development plan (1989- 1994), output of NPC reached 5.2 million tons and in 2016 it rose to 59.1 million tons. By implementing more than 55 approved projects, the output capacity will surge and reach about 105 million tons.
Considering the abundance of natural gas resources in Iran, many plans used it as feedstock in petrochemical industries. ICPDC has devised numerous plans to complete the value chain in the industry and the company chiefly aims at developing downstream industries as the best way to secure economic growth in the country.

Chemicals & Petrochemical industry was a highly competitive sector in the world and in order to preserve its standing in this industry in the world, Iran has to act competitively. Promotion of the chemicals & petrochemical industry’s level in the region and the world will take place by enhancing production capacity and adding completion of the value chain in this sector. ICPDC evaluate potential of downstream industries of chemicals & petrochemicals throughout the value chain. Among the key sectors focused by ICPDC would be salt, chlor-alkali, sulfur, methanol, inorganic acids, chemical fertilizers, and polymers.