What Are Different Types of Petrochemicals? 

What Are Different Types of Petrochemicals? 

Did you know that there is a chemical commonality between medicine, cosmetics, wind turbines, and electronics? These are a type of chemicals that are derived from crude oil, natural gas, or petroleum, called petrochemicals. These chemicals are also used in the production of more products essential to the modern world, such as detergents, tires, and clothing. Because it would be near impossible to mention all their uses, only a common few are mentioned.  

Generally speaking, these chemicals can be divided into 3 categories: 

  • Olefins 
  • Aromatics 
  • Methanol 

It is good to keep in mind that some chemicals that are categorized as petrochemicals can also be derived from other sources, such as vegetable products and coke.  


This first category includes butadiene, ethylene, and propylene, all of which can be produced from both natural gas and crude oil. Butadiene is used in the production of synthetic rubber while ethylene and propylene are used in the production of plastics. Something that makes butadiene unique from ethylene and propylene is the fact that while the latter can be obtained from natural gas and crude oil, butadiene can only be derived from crude oil.  


Aromatics include benzene, xylene, and toluene. As ethylene and propylene, xylenes are also used in the production of plastics. Additionally, it is also used in the production of synthetic fibers, while benzene is used in the production of dyes as a raw material. Similar to butadiene, the aromatics mentioned are derived from crude oil.  


Methanol is a type of alcohol that is also considered a petrochemical. Methanol has a wide variety of uses from pharmaceuticals to fuels. It is also derived directly from natural gas, while the other chemicals mentioned had intermediate chemicals between the starting natural gas or crude oil and the final chemical.  

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