From crude oil to everyday life products

Click on the building blocks and their derivatives to
discover the path from raw materials to everyday products

Raw materials: Feedstocks

Building blocks

Derivatives and everyday products

Crude oil

Natural gas

Associated gases









Also called ethene, ethylene is the simplest member of the olefinic hydrocarbon series and one of the most important raw materials of the organic chemical industry. It occurs in both petroleum and natural gas, but the bulk of the industrial material is produced by heating of higher hydrocarbons. Ethylene can be polymerised to the plastic material polyethylene, reacted with oxygen to give ethylene oxide, or with benzene to give ethylbenzene

Polyethylenes LDPE, HDPE, LLDPE

Polyethylene (abbreviated PE) or polythene (IUPAC name polyethene or poly(methylene)) is the most common plastic.

Ethyl benzene

Ethylbenzene is formed by combination of ethylene and benzene, and is then dehydrogenated to styrene for use in the production of plastics and synthetic rubber.

Ethylene dichloride

Ethyl dichloride. Liquid, most commonly used in the production of vinyl chloride monomer, starting material for chlorinated solvents such as 1,1,1-trichloroethane, vinylidene chloride, trichloroethylene, and perchloroethylene, solvent for processing pharmaceutical products, solvent for fats, oils, waxes, gums, resins, and particularly for rubber

Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene Oxide (EO) is a chemical intermediate used in the manufacture of glycol ethers, ethoxylates and ethylene glycol. Ethylene oxide derivatives have a wide range of applications, from detergents and cosmetics to antifreeze; they are also used in the manufacture of man-made fibres, brake fluids and polyethylene terephthalate

Ethyl alcohol

Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol is manufactured by synthesis from ethylene. It is an oxygenated hydrocarbon used in a wide variety of high performance solvent applications (toiletries and cosmetics, paints, lacquer thinners, printing inks, dyes, detergents, disinfectants and pharmaceuticals), as a chemical raw material for the production of a range of monomers and solvents, and is essential in pharmaceutical purification. In transportation, ethanol is used as a vehicle fuel by itself, blended with gasoline, or as a gasoline octane enhancer and oxygenate


Acetaldehyde, an aldehyde used as a starting material in the synthesis of acetic acid, n-butyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, and other chemical compounds.


Propylene, also called propene, a colourless, flammable, gaseous hydrocarbon obtained from petroleum. It is the second most important starting product in the petrochemical industry after ethylene.



Polypropylene is a polyolefin plastic type.

Acrylic acid

Acrylic acid and the basic alkyl esters (methyl, ethyl, butyl and 2-ethylhexyl esters) are important monomers used for the manufacture of polymer dispersions, adhesives, flocculants, detergents, varnishes, fibres and plastics as well as chemical intermediates.


Acrylonitrile is a chemical compound with the formula C3H3N. This colorless liquid often appears yellow due to impurities.


Cumene is an aromatic derived from benzene and propylene.

Propylene oxide

Propylene oxide is a petrochemical used as a monomer in polymer production and as an intermediate in the synthesis of other substances.


Butyraldehyde is a clear, colourless, flammable liquid, used chiefly as an intermediate in the manufacture of resins.


Isopropanol is a major component of rubbing alcohols. Isopropanol is a secondary alcohol. It is one of the cheapest alcohols and has replaced ethanol for many uses because of its similar solvent properties. Isopropanol was formerly obtained largely by catalytic reduction of acetone ; oxidation of isopropanol is now the major source of acetone.

C4 Stream

C4 derivatives are among the main olefin products coming from the steam cracker, along with ethylene and propylene. Butadiene is the most valuable product from the C4 fraction.


Isobutylene is used in organic synthesis and in the production of hight octane aviation gasoline. It is special because it is the only rubber that is gas impermeable. It can hold air for long periods of time.


n-Butene are formed during the cracking of petroleum to produce gasoline; they can also be prepared commercially by the catalytic dehydrogenation of butanes.


Butadiene is a flammable gaseous olefin used in making synthetic rubbers. Butadiene rubber has now completely displaced natural rubber in the manufacture of automobile tyres.


Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CH4. It is the simplest alkane, the main component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth.


Methanol, a colourless alcohol, is a chemical used in the production of formaldehyde, acetic acid and methyl methacrylate (MMA), and is used as a solvent in many applications. It is also used to produce MTBE.


Benzene is the simplest aromatic compound, with a ring of six carbon atoms and six hydrogen atoms. It is a colourless liquid occurring naturally in fossil raw materials such as crude oil and coal, produced during processing of petroleum liquids and through chemical reactions. It is one of the most important feedstocks for the chemical industry, used for the manufacture of a wide range of everyday items, and is not itself used directly by consumers.


Alkybenzene is one of the most important organic raw material for the production of synthetic detergents.


Cyclohexane is an aliphatic cyclic hydrocarbon derived from benzene used as an intermediate to produce nylon.


Cumene is an aromatic derived from benzene and propylene and used in turn to produce polycarbonates, phenolic resins and essential pharmaceuticals such as aspirin and penicillin.


Ethylbenzene is formed by combination of ethylene and benzene, and is then dehydrogenated to styrene for use in the production of plastics and synthetic rubber.


Toluene, a colourless liquid, is an aromatic hydrocarbon used extensively as starting for making benzene and xylenes via several technologies. Its major end-products are polyurethanes.

Toluene diisocyanate

Toluene di-isocyanate is an organic compound that is prepared from toluene.


Solvents are liquids that have the ability to dissolve, suspend or extract other materials, without chemical change to the material or solvent. Solvents make it possible to process, apply, clean or separate materials. Water is an inorganic solvent. Organic solvents include hydrocarbon solvents, oxygenated solvents and chlorinated solvents.


Xylenes, a colourless liquid, is an aromatic hydrocarbon of which there are several forms. Xylenes are used as solvents, as components of aviation fuel, and as raw materials for the manufacture of dyes, fibres and films. Of the different forms of xylenes, paraxylene is commercially the most important


Ortho-xylene is an isomer of mixed xylene. It is primarily used in plasticisers (primarily in flexible polyvinyl chloride - PVC - material), medicines and dyes


Para-xylene is one of the forms of xylenes, paraxylene is used to make polyesters, which have applications in clothing, packaging and plastic bottles. The most widely-used polyester is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), used in lightweight, recyclable soft drinks bottles, as fibres in clothing, as a filling for anoraks and duvets, in car tyre cords and conveyor belts. It can also be made into a film that is used in video and audiotapes and x-ray films.