The Development of the Petrochemical Industry and Turkey’s Energy Security

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Development of the Global Petrochemical Industry


According to Daniel Yergin’s seminal work on oil, although the first commercial oil well became operational in 1859, the petrochemical industry did not develop until WWII. Oil demand was a primary security concern for the great powers during two great wars and the interwar period. In the 1950’s, the increase in demand for synthetic materials enforced energy markets to develop more sophisticated civil and military technologies and new energy systems. Technologically speaking, once oil was refined, the second stage of crude oil has been its use in manufacturing over 70,000 different chemical products. The major product groups which make use of these chemicals, include rubber and plastic products, textiles, apparel, petroleum refining, pulp and paper, and primary metals.


During the last three decades, the administrative model and the market for the world petrochemical industry has dramatically altered. The US, Western Europe, and Japan previously dominated the production of primary petrochemicals. Not only did they supply their own domestic demand but also exported it to other world markets. Prior to 1980, these technologically advanced countries produced 80% of the world’s primary petrochemical products. However, the large scale construction of petrochemical facilities has also been on the rise in other parts of the world, and in turn expanded the petrochemical market globally. In 2010, the three main countries accounted for only 37% of world primary petrochemicals production.


This research paper explores the question as to who depends on the energy sector.  It argues that those countries which have developed energy technologies, exploration, administration and marketing strategies in countries which are rich in hydrocarbon deposits are in fact reliant on technologically advanced countries. This paper aims to prove that the petrochemical industry is the key sector in determining the relationship between producers and consumers.

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