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Sulphuric acid.

Sulphuric Acid

The consumption of Sulphuric acid per head of the population reflects the development in a country, and this yardstick holds good. The per capita consumption of sulphuric acid is estimated to be around 0.82 kg. which is one of the lowest in the world. However, the demand is bound to increase substantially with the establishment of more chemical industries in the country as substantial quantities are required in the manufacture of fertilizers, paper, sugar, synthetic fibres, dyestuffs etc. It may be mentioned that in Britain the production of Sulphuric Acid is more than 4 million tons a year (per capita consumption of about 150 lbs). Against this the present capacity in Pakistan is 123,960 tons (29,700 tons is under installation) which indicates the slow progress of the chemical industry in the country. Production capacity of individual units are given in Table-I.

Table : TABLE - I Production Capacity of Sulphuric Acid
Pak. Chemical Ltd. Karachi 19,500
Ittehad Chemicals, Lahore 3,000
Lyallpur Chemicals Fertilizer, Lyallpur 6,000
Pak. American Fertilizers Ltd. Dadu Khel 5,660
Lyallpur Chemicals and Fertilizers, Jaranwala 30,000
A.S. Chemicals Ltd., Lahore 3,300
Sazgar - Lahore 3,300
Attock Chemicals Co. Ltd., Rawalpindi 16,500
P.O.F. - Wah Cantt. 3,500
Crescent Chemicals, Sukkur 3,500

Pak. Gulf Chemical Industries Ltd., Nooriabad 6,000
Prime Chemicals Ltd., Lahore 7,200
Lahore Chemical Corp., Chunian 9,000
Rawal Industrial Works, Lahore 1,500
Nooriabad Chemicals (Pvt.) Ltd., Hub Chowki 6,000
 Total 29,700
GRAND TOTAL:- 123,960

Source: IPB

Sulphuric acid is manufactured in Pakistan mainly by contact process using imported sulphur. Indigenous sulphur is impure and can only be used after purification. There are few refining units in the country with very limited supply of pure sulphur. Sulphur can also be recovered from natural gas (Sui gas and Indus gas) Attock Oil Company, has installed a sulphur Recovery Plant producing 10 tons per day from its sweet and sour gases. If the above two sources of sulphur recovery are earnestly tapped Pakistan will become self-sufficient in this very important raw material.


Although sulphuric acid is used in many chemical industries, the main user of this item is still fertilizer industry which in some cases is able to meet the demand of nearby chemical industrial units, in addition to its own captive demand. Sulphuric acid being a corrosive material is consumed by and large at the location where it is produced. There are, therefore, no imports or exports of industrial grade sulphuric acid. Production of sulphuric acid in the country during the last 11 years has shown significant increase as shown in Table - II

Table : TABLE - II Production of Sulphuric Acid
 Quantity Percentage
Year (Tons) Increase
1980-81 71,247 + 6.95
1981-82 71,826 + 8.12
1982-83 71,059 - 1.06
1983-84 81,748 + 15.04
1984-85 77,906 - 4.69
1985-86 80,444 + 3.25
1986-87 77,610 - 3.52
1987-88 78,760 + 1.48
1988-89 78,755 - 0.06

Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics

It may be pointed out that the production capacity of sulphuric acid in the country is of two categories. One is the captive capacity in which production is utilised by the integrated fertilizer plants and other chemical products manufacturing units while the other type of capacity is independent of any integrated facilities for the utilisation of sulphuric acid. Thus, a major portion of production is used in the captive capacity in plants which are attached with fertilizer plants.

Thus, so far, there are only four independent units namely Pak Chemicals Limited, Karachi, Attock Chemical Rawalpindi, A.S. Chemicals Lahore, and Crescent Sukkur. The combined production capacity of these four units comes to 42,800 tonnes. Since sulphuric acid is a corrosive chemical, it is not usually transported from place to place and is preferably consumed by industries which are located around the plant of sulphuric acid. Besides its use in fertilizer production, sulphuric acid is used by a wide range of industries such as paper and board, sugar, tanneries, chemicals, textile, water treatment plants, metal industries, soil reclamation projects, synthetic fibre industries and explosives. Average annual production of the last nine years worked out to 76,595 tons. Average annual growth rate worked out to 2.83%.

Import of Sulphuric Acid

Imports of sulphuric acid have been quite negligible, mainly for use in laboratories. Last six years average imports per annum come to 18,580 kgs. The following table indicates the position.

Table : TABLE - III Import of Sulphuric Acid

(Code No. 5222201)
 Quantity Value
Year (Kgs.) (Rupees)
1983-84 34,609 387,000
1984-85 21,382 262,000
1985-86 10,000 336,000
1986-87 13,813 279,000
1987-88 24,831 372,507
1988-89 6,850 124,269

Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics, Karachi

Export of Sulphuric Acid

Export of sulphuric acid is also negligible and they are mainly directed to Afghanistan and India. The following table gives the export performance of the last six years.

Table : TABLE - IV Export of Sulphuric Acid

(Code No. 5222201)
 Quantity Value
Year (Kgs.) (Rupees)
1983-84 88,840 100,000
1984-85 105,320 132,000
1985-86 113,692 196,000
1986-87 120,860 239,000
1987-88 75,370 132,000
1988-89 69,000 284,248

Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics, Karachi

Aggregate Market Demand

Aggregate market demand of sulphuric acid as estimated by IDBP was 111,500 tonnes in 1989-90. These estimates have been worked out as follows:

Table : [Tabular Data Omitted]
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Title Annotation:sulphuric acid industry in Pakistan
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Previous Article:Chemical industry in Pakistan.
Next Article:New chemical projects.

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