The chemical sector is the largest industrial consumer of both oil and gas. Yet despite being the largest industrial energy consumer, it is the third industry subsector in terms of direct CO2 emissions – behind iron and steel and cement. This is largely because around half of the sector’s energy input is consumed as feedstock, the emissions of which are released downstream in other sectors.

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Key findings

Primary chemical production in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2030


Growing demand for chemical products

The sector’s substantial energy consumption is driven by demand for a vast array of chemical products. Demand for primary chemicals – which is an indication of activity in the sector overall – has grown strongly in recent years. Continued demand growth is expected in the Sustainable Development Scenario, underscoring the need for measures to reduce the energy and CO2 emissions intensity of production.