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Feedstock applications

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Also seeBenzeneOil refining in Australia

Grouping and Integration

Petrochemicals may be broadly broken down into two groups, derived from;
bulletmethane and ethane (ie. C1 and C2, or gas-based) or from;
bulletpropane or butanes (C3 and C4, or naphtha or oil-based).
A third group of aromatic chemicals (ie. benzene-based), may be derived from LPG or naphtha and used to produce a distinct range of chemicals.

Petrochemicals can be broadly broken down into two groups - derived from methane and ethane (gas-based) and from propane and butane (oil-based).
bullet Methane is the largest component of natural gas (typically 90 per cent) and is used after conversion to the more flexible synthesis gas (syngas). It can produce a broad range of chemicals including methanol, formaldehyde and chemical intermediates and the fertilisers, ammonia, urea, ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate.
bullet Ethane is the second most common component of feedstocks used to produce polyethylenes and PVC. Via a chloralkali plant, (used to produce the chlorine primarily required for PVC) ethane feedstock may thereby be linked to the production of titanium dioxide pigment, silicones and titanium metal that require chlorine in the production chain.
bullet Propane is a component of LPG but is commonly produced at petroleum refineries and by the cracking of naphtha. Propanes (or C3) are used to produce polypropylene, acrylics, and with ammonia and via cyclohexane (from benzene), acrylonitrile and caprolactam (to produce nylons).
bullet Butanes (C4) is available from LPG gas but commonly produced from naphtha cracking. It provides the butyl component in ABS, rubbers and MTBE (an antiknock fuel additive).
The breakdown provides some indication of potential relationships, such as between ammonia used in fertiliser plants (to produce ammonium nitrate, phosphates, urea etc.) and its use to produce acrylonitrile, caprolactams etc. Oxygen plays a part in such petrochemicals as ethylene and propylene oxide, glycols, non ionic surfactants, acrylics etc.

Chemlink Pty Ltd ABN 71 007 034 022. Publications 1997. All contents Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Products and companies referred to are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders. URL:

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