Refineries process crude oil into fuels – including gasoline, aviation fuel, kerosene, heating oil, residual fuel, propane and butane for sale throughout the United States to retail, wholesale and commercial customers. In addition, refineries produces petrochemical feedstocks such as the following:

Benzene is a chemical that occurs naturally in crude oil. Natural benzene is supplemented by additional volume made in the refining process. Benzene is used in making many common products such as tires, carpets, compact discs and pharmaceuticals

Benzene is extracted from reformate by the Udex process and can be further processed into cyclohexane by hydrogen addition or into cumene by reacting with refinery grade propylene. Benzene is a minor component of gasoline.

Cumene is a chemical manufactured during the refining process by combining benzene and propylene. It can also be found in the oils of some plants. Cumene is used to make phenol, an intermediate chemical used in the manufacture of many consumer products including building materials and plastics.

Propylene is an important chemical used in the manufacture of plastics. Propylene is used to manufacture many common household items such as food storage containers, diapers and children's toys.

Propylene can be obtained from petroleum oils during the refining of gasoline. It can also be obtained by catalytic or thermal cracking of naptha or natural gas liquids, or by catalytic dehydrogenation of propane

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a white, solid chemical produced by recombining phenol and acetone catalyzed by hydrochloric acid. BPA is made in prilled form for ease of handling and processing.

There are two grades of bisphenol-A. Epoxy-grade BPA is used to make epoxy resins for adhesives, composites, coating and finishes, and printed circuit boards. Polycarbonate-grade BPA is used to make polycarbonate resins, a high-impact and high heat-resistant plastic. Polycarbonate is in turn used for appliance parts, compact discs, automotive components and glazing materials.

Aniline is a colorless, oily liquid, and is one of the most important organic chemical bases. It is the parent substance for many dyes and drugs. The predominant use for aniline is in making methylene diisocyanate, a raw material for urethane products and rigid polyurethane foams and coating resins. These are in turn used in the housing construction and automotive industries. Aniline is also used in the production of rubber processing chemicals, photographic developers, agricultural chemicals and dyes.

A comprehensive listing of the type rail tank cars used can be found in the book American Car & Foundry by Kaminski.
These chemicals are also transported by barge, tank trucks and through pipeline.


While these figures are current, there have been no new refineries built in the US since 1970!, and several have closed.

ALABAMA Indigenous crude oil production totals 26,000 barrels per day, ranking Alabama 16th out of the 31 producing states and Federal Offshore areas. The state's three refineries have a combined crude oil distillation capacity of 130,000 barrels per calendar day, while several crude oil, product, and liquefied petroleum gas pipelines pass through the state.

DELAWARE Petroleum infrastructure includes several ports that are located along the Delaware River and one medium size refinery that supplies products mostly to local markets in the region.

FLORIDA Although the state does not have any refineries, the state does have some indigenous crude oil production, totaling 12,000 barrels per day, which ranks it 20th out of 31 producing states including Federal Offshore areas.

GEORGIA The state’s two refineries are primarily asphalt plants. Other petroleum infrastructure includes two product pipelines that traverse the state and the Dixie Pipeline that is a major supplier of propane to the southeast.

KENTUCKY Kentucky has two refineries and several crude oil, product, and liquefied petroleum gas pipelines. Indigenous crude oil production totals 8,000 barrels per day, which ranks the state 21st including Federal Offshore areas.

LOUISIANA Louisiana is a major oil producing state with abundant crude oil reserves, ranking 5th in production and 8th in reserves. Petroleum infrastructure is extensive with a large network of crude oil, product, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) pipelines and storage facilities. Louisiana is also home to two of the four Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) storage facilities: West Hackberry in Cameron Parish and Bayou Choctaw in Iberville Parish, Louisiana. Other infrastructure include 18 petroleum refineries with a combined crude oil distillation capacity of more than 2.7 million barrels per calendar day, the second highest in the nation after Texas. Louisiana has numerous ports including the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which is capable of receiving ultra large oil tankers.

MARYLAND The Colonial Pipeline, a major petroleum products pipeline, traverses the state on its way to New York.

MISSISSIPPI Petroleum infrastructure includes four refineries including the Chevron refinery at Pascagoula with crude oil distillation capacity totaling nearly 335 BCD, and a moderately extensive network of crude oil, product, and liquefied petroleum gas pipelines. Mississippi ranks 11th in the nation, including Federal Offshore areas, in crude oil production with 54,000 barrels per day. A major propane supply hub is located at Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where the Dixie Pipeline has a network of terminals and storage facilities.

NORTH CAROLINA There are no refineries in North Carolina but several major product pipelines traverse the state. The Dixie Pipeline, a major supplier of propane to the Southeast, terminates at Apex, North Carolina, where a terminal and above-ground storage tanks are located.

SOUTH CAROLINA The state does not have any indigenous crude production or refineries but several product pipelines traverse the state. The Dixie Pipeline, a major supply source for propane in the Southeast, crosses the state to its terminus in Apex, North Carolina.

TENNESSEE The state ranks near the bottom at 28th in the nation for crude oil production including Federal Offshore areas. Tennessee has a single refinery and several crude oil and product pipelines. The state has several waterways, including the Mississippi River, that provide an important transportation link with other states.

VIRGINIA Virginia ranks last in crude oil production at 33 barrels per day. Petroleum infrastructure includes a single refinery that is rated at nearly 59 thousand barrels of crude oil per calendar day in addition to the Colonial and Plantation Pipelines. Numerous ports are located in the Newport News/Norfolk area including Chesapeake, which serves as a major propane import facility.

WEST VIRGINIA The state ranks 26th (including Federal Offshore areas) in crude oil production with volumes totaling 3,000 barrels per day. Moreover, about one-half of West Virginia's crude oil production is derived from stripper wells (wells that produce less than 10 barrels per day). Petroleum infrastructure consists of a single refinery with crude oil distillation capacity totaling 18,600 barrels per calendar day, and several pipelines that transport crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas liquids. The Ohio River, which forms part of the western boundary, serves as a major water transportation route.

© S.A. McCall