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Did you know that the United States is one of the largest chemical producers in the world?
It’s no surprise once you start looking into the statistics and see the massive amounts of money made and chemicals produced in America each year. In 2017, the chemical industry in America had a market value of $4250 billion.
Since there are so many companies that make up the chemical industry, and roles that make the industry so successful, we’re going to look at the biggest chemical companies in the world. All of these companies play an important role in the global production of chemicals, and employ thousands of people.
We’ll be looking at facts, statistics, and rankings from 2020, so take them with a grain of salt. Like other industries, chemical production companies took a hit as COVID changed the world.
Still, the numbers are impressive and show you just how big chemical companies are. Let’s take a look at the world’s ten largest chemical companies.
The World’s 10 Largest Chemical Companies
2019 sales: $66.4 billion
Topping nearly all of the lists is BASF, a multinational company that reported $60.9 billion in revenue in 2020, despite the pandemic. BASF includes many smaller companies and ventures, and in all the company operates in 80 countries with 390 production sites across the globe.
The future is bright for BASF as they continue to expand and come close to completing their newest chemical complex, a plastics compounding plant in China.
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec)
2019 sales: $61.6 billion
Founded in 2000, Sinopec has quickly climbed its way to the top of the chemical industry. Recently, COVID threw the company for a loop as most of their operations are based in China, which was impacted first during the pandemic.
Over time, as chemical compounds proved necessary in chemical manufacturing, they were able to mostly bounce back in the latter half of the year.
They are mainly involved in producing organic chemicals, synthetic resin, synthetic fiber monomer and polymer, synthetic fiber, synthetic rubber, and chemical fertilizer, but also have small operations in other compounds.
2019 sales: $43 billion
The first American company on the list, DOW is known for its production of plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products. DOW operates 109 facilities in 31 countries, making it a major global player with nearly 37,000 employees.
The COVID pandemic hit DOW as demand for some of its products decreased while others stayed the same, resulting in a mixed year for them. Regardless, they were able to keep their spot in the top three chemical producers.
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2019 sales: $34.4 billion
Operating as a subsidiary of the Saudi state-owned Saudi Aramco, SABIC works mainly with petrochemicals, chemicals, industrial polymers, fertilizers, and metals.
This strategic union of upstream and downstream production (the raw materials and the refining/production) allows them to dive deeply into the industry and gives them an interesting advantage.
In all, the company employs around 30,000 people across the globe, most of them coming from their home country of Saudi Arabia.
London, England, UK
2019 sales: $32 billion
After years of mergers and acquisitions, INEOS has risen from a small chemical company to one of the top 10 players in the global industry. As of 2020, their efforts paid off and they reported total assets of nearly $13 billion.
The company’s focus is on petrochemicals and specialty compounds, but they also have other manufacturing capabilities. In total, they employ about 7,500 people.
Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
2019 sales: $31.4 billion
Focusing mainly on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products and resins, Formosa Plastics Corp is one of the biggest plastics companies in the world. In 2018, Forbes ranked them as number 758 on their Global 2000 list of largest publicly traded companies.
In 2019 and 2020, they advanced projects to increase their production capacity with plants in Point Comfort, TX and St. James Parish, LA. With important manufacturing sites across the world, Formosa Plastics Corp employs about 10,000 people globally.
2019 sales: $27.4 billion
When you think of ExxonMobil, you probably think of natural gas and oil, but their huge chemical arm is nothing to scoff at.
Coming in at number seven on this list, ExxonMobil’s efforts in the chemical industry make them a key player as both a source for raw materials and chemical production.
They are involved in numerous types of production with most of their manufacturing focusing on olefins, ethylene glycol, polyethylene, polypropylene, elastomers, plasticizers, solvents, process fluids, oxo alcohols, and adhesive resins.
While 2020 proved to be a difficult year for both ExxonMobil (the parent company) and its chemical arm, they’re still a major player in the industry and will continue to be so.
2019 sales: $27.4 billion
Mitsubishi Chemical is another name you might recognize, but not for their work in chemical products.
Best known for their cars to most consumers, their chemical corporation is an umbrella company for many subsidiaries, including Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Mitsubishi Chemical FP, MC Research and Innovation, and Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers.
In 2019 and 2020, they turned their focus to expanding their holdings and acquired a few chemical companies across the world, including one in Pennsylvania and one in Switzerland.
2019 sales: $27.1 billion
A truly multinational company, LyondellBasell is known for its polyethylene and polypropylene technologies and products that it manufactures out of its core facilities in the Netherlands, the US, and the UK.
Across all of their locations, they employ almost 20,000 people. While 2020 proved difficult for them, they look like they’ll have a bright future with new plants and a focus on recycling research.
Seoul, South Korea
2019 sales: $24.6 billion
Ranking as the largest chemical company in South Korea, and the 10th largest globally, LG Chemical has been hugely successful with their raw materials, chemicals, IT/electronics materials, and energy solutions products.
Their focus on tech products has helped them stay ahead of the game and remain relevant among other competitors. As of 2015, they had over 20,000 employees across their operations.
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