The chemical sector developed rapidly after World War II and especially after 1965. Before the war, it generated less than 3 percent of total industrial output and its product list was limited to carbon black; hydrochloric and sulfuric acid; soda ash; caustic soda; and a few types of chemical fibers, paints, and lacquers. By the 1980s, the industry produced between 10 and 20 percent of industrial output and accounted for more than 25 percent of export earnings. The petrochemical branch was the heart of the industry, producing about half of total output. The largest petrochemical complexes were built at Ploesti and Pitesti, but numerous smaller production units were scattered across the country. With new plants at Turda, Tīrnaveni in Mures judet, Ocna Mures, and Govora in Vīlcea judet, Romania became the largest producer of sodium- and chlorine-based products in Comecon after the Soviet Union. New sulfuric acid plants were built at Copsa Mica, Victoria in Ialomita judet, and Navodari in Constanta judet.
In later years, Romania reduced its emphasis on bulk chemicals and focused on more sophisticated products, such as special plastics, synthetic rubber, chemical fibers, electrodes, pharmaceuticals, dyes, and detergents. The government also gave priority to artificial fertilizers, building plants at Valea Calugareasca in Prahova judet, Fagaras, Tīrnaveni, Navodari, Piatra Neamt, Victoria, Tīrgu Mures, Craiova, Turnu Magurele in Teleorman judet, and Slobozia. The Eighth Five-Year Plan (1986-90) called for doubling the production of agricultural chemicals.
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