Caustic Soda Industry

Economic Review, June 1991 | Go to article overview

Caustic Soda Industry


Caustic Soda Industry

Caustic Soda manufacturing in Pakistan was started by setting up of the very first unit in Nowshera in 1955 with a rated capacity of 3300 tonnes per annum. With the growth of industrialisation demand for caustic soda showed rapid increase since early 60's. This demand created interest among the entrepreneurs and consequently a large factory for producing Caustic Soda was established in 1964 at Kala Shah Kaku. (Ittehad Chemicals Limited). This unit after modification and expansion has a capacity of producing 49,500 tonnes per annum of Caustic Soda.

The existing sanctioned/installed capacity for caustic soda in the country is 98,000 tonnes as shown in Table-I.

Table : TABLE - I Production Capacity of Caustic Soda

                            (Tonnes)
                             Annual
Name of Plant              Capacity

Ittehad Chemicals

Kala Shah Kaku               49,500
Pakistan PVC Ltd. Gharu       7,200
Sindh Alkalis Ltd. Landhi     3,000
Chemicals Ltd., Charsadda     3,000

Adamjee Paper & BoardMills,

Nowshera                      3,000
Sitara Chemicals             12,000
Bela Chemicals Ltd.          15,000
Other Small Units             5,000
  TOTAL:                     98,000

Source: Annual Reports of Companies

Out of the above listed units, two units are attached with paper manufacturing units and meet exclusively their own requirements with no surplus for open market. In addition there are small causticising units with a captive capacity of about 6,300 tonnes per annum of caustic soda from soda ash for their own soap manufacturing requirements. That means, there are only five units for the production of Caustic Soda, with a total installed capacity of 91,700 tonnes per annum, to meet the entire open market requirements. Out of these five units, two units namely Ittehad Chemicals and Pakistan PVC based on electrolytic process, while Sindh Alkalis Limited has a Causticising plant attached with the Soda Ash unit which converts the surplus Soda Ash into Caustic Soda with limited production.

Caustic Soda

It is an important chemical used by a large number of industries such as detergents, paper, textile and oil refining. The main raw-material required for manufacturing caustic soda is salt and electric power. Salt is abundantly available in Jhelum District of Punjab. Besides sufficient quantity of salt can also be manufactured from sea water. The supply position of other raw materials needed by the industries is also satisfactory and the imported raw materials constitute only about 13 per cent of the total cost of production.

Caustic Soda in liquid and solid form is one of the most important raw materials used by the soap industry. It is soluble in water and acts as a strong detergent. According to the Industrial Investment Schedule of the Sixth Five Year Plan Capacity for caustic soda has been targeted to increase from 51,000 tonnes to 136,000 tonnes, by the end of the Sixth Five Year Plan envisaging an investment of Rs. 600 million. The capacity has increased to about 149,000 tonnes in 1989-90 with actual production at 74,036 tonnes. The actual production of caustic soda during the last nine years is as follows:

Table : TABLE - II Local Production of Caustic Soda

        Production          %
Year      (Tonnes)   Increase
1981-82    40,548           -
1982-83    41,065      + 1.27
1983-84    39,740      - 3.22
1984-85    46,020      +15.80
1985-86    54,819      +19.11
1986-87    54,889      - 0.12
1987-88    61,344      +11.76
1988-89    66,452      + 8.32
1989-90    74,036      +11.40

Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics

Local production of caustic soda has increased from 40,548 tonnes in 1981-82 to 74,036 tonnes in 1989-90 showing an average growth rate of 8.03 which is very encouraging.

Table : TABLE - III Domestic Availability of Caustic Soda

                             (Tonnes)
Year    Production   Imports   Total
1981-82   40,548     28,991   69,539
1982-83   41,065     31,684   72,749
1983-84   39,740      5,240   44,980
1984-85   46,020      4,731   50,751
1985-86   54,819      7,758   62,577
1986-87   54,889     32,932   87,821
1987-88   61,344      8,245   69,589
1988-89   66,452      7,822   74,274
1989-90   74,036          -   74,032

Source: Federal Bureau of Statistics

Domestic availability (Domestic demand) is around 74,032 tonnes during 1989-90 as against 69,539 tonnes during 1981-82. …

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