How Does A Petrochemical Industry Operate?

Petrochemical industries form downstream to the petroleum industries. It is an industrial facility where petroleum is converted into other useful products. The operations and working of a petrochemical industry also involve marketing of the products that have been made.

The operations of this industry are quite complicated if you consider their structure. It generally involves exploring, extracting, refining, and then transporting the products. The products with significant volume are gasoline and fuel oil. Many other products also get extracted and are used in various ways. Petroleum is essential to a lot of industries and helps to maintain its configuration


We can divide petroleum industries into below significant steps, and petrochemical industries are a part of midstream and downstream steps below. So, in turn, this will tell us the working of both petroleum and petrochemical industries.


This is the first step in the petroleum industry and forms the base of all upcoming levels. Upstream involves working on exploring and looking for the oil fields and getting the oil out. This work is mostly required around the oil well, or you could call it the oil field. 

There are service companies which work on the oil field and there are also drilling contractors. There are two sections that get the most work around this due to the nature of the work and type of job involved in it. The National Oil Companies hold the highest number of oil reserves.


As the name suggests, this part forms the middle portion of the petroleum industries. This section can sometimes also get clubbed with the downstream section. However, that would be incorrect because the midstream section involves the processing of these products and has its own discrete identity. 



There are huge oil and gas wells which stock the oil that has been drilled and found about in the upstream section. This needs to be connected to the next part where they will be further processed. The section relating these two part is what assembling stands for.

Assembling involves using low-pressure and narrow pipelines to connect the well-producing oil and gas to the long-haul pipelines, which are large or to the processing facilities. The valves used in the pipeline should be of the optimum quality and reliable, just like XHVAL ball valve.


This process involves converting the crude oil or natural gas into other products. These two can be converted into a lot of products which are used by everyone in all walks of life. The procedure to change oil is called refining of crude oil. The method to transform natural gas is termed as the processing of natural gas.


Refining Of Crude Oil 

The crude oil can be changed into a lot of useful products which involve gasoline, diesel oil, her fuel, and heating oil. The crude oil can be refined using several technologies like:

–    Vacuum distillation

–    Distillation

–    Catalytic cracking

–    Catalytic reforming

–    Isomerization

–    Hydro heating

Processing Of Natural Gas

The process involves separating the raw product into natural gas of pipeline quality and also mixed liquid stream of natural gas. Then the next step is fractionation. This step consists in changing this stream of dissolved gas into its components. These components include natural gasoline, ethane, butane, propane, and isobutane. The process to separate the natural gas  can be done by:

–    Compression

–    Amine treating

–    Glycol dehydration



This involves all the transport that is required in this entire procedure. This can be the transportation from drills to the processing facilities where they need to be changed; it would also involve transportation to the end users. The scale of traffic is enormous, and the different modes involved are rail, truck, tanker, or a pipeline. Each of these methods requires a different usage depending upon the distance.

Pipeline – this can be used when the transport has to be done between very long distances, say if it needs to be across two continents

Tankers – these are also used for long distance but comparatively lesser than the pipeline. These could be used to transport the oil or gas internationally

Rail And Truckwhile these can also be used for long distances, it won’t be feasible. They prove to be extremely cost effective for the short routes.



The storage of these products can be required at any of the stages. The storage section of the service means providing service anywhere throughout the industrial facility. Storage facilities are found to be generally located somewhere around the processing and refining unit. 

The reason being that since it is near, the products can be easily stored without hassle. The storage systems are also connected to the pipeline system. This is inevitable in the case where a particular product demand must be met.

  • Petroleum products: these are usually stored in large storage tanks.
  • Natural gas: these are not stored above anywhere. They are typically kept in underground facilities like a depleted reservoir or salt dome caverns


This is the last leg of the petroleum industries. This section is also very close to petrochemical industries because this involves dealing with products that come out of the petroleum. The products that are extracted from oil and natural gas also need to be well marketed so that can be sold out. The downstream section is responsible for their distribution as well as marketing. This involves products such as heating oil, lubricants, LPG, Olefins, and Aromatic.


This is the essential operation run through of the petroleum industries, which also involve the petrochemical industries. The resources of petroleum are soon depleting, and while there are no concrete replacements yet, it is crucial to be aware of the current process. 



If the process is followed nicely and diligently, there will be minimum wastage, and that’s the goal set. Ensure that the procedure is followed, any loopholes are highlighted, and what changes can benefit us. Hopefully, this writeup helps you to understand the workings a little better in a less complicated way.

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