How much oil is used to make plastic?


It is often stated that oil is drilled for making plastic. This is not correct. How much oil is used to make plastic?

Although crude oil is a source of raw material (feedstock) for making plastics, it is not the major feedstock for plastics production in the United States. Natural gas is used for process heat in the production of precursor chemicals and plastics and as a feedstock for those precursor chemicals.

The primary feedstock for U.S. petrochemical crackers are hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), of which 82% were by-products of natural gas processing.

Plastics are produced from natural gas, feedstocks derived from natural gas processing, and feedstocks (Naphtha) derived from crude oil refining.

Petrochemical feedstock naphtha and other oils refined from crude oil are used as feedstock for petrochemical crackers that produce the basic building blocks for making plastics.

Every barrel of crude oil extracted contains a range of materials suitable for different applications. The major components derived are petroleum and diesel oils – naphtha- which is the precursor to plastic production- is a minor component- depending on region -around 3-4% of the total.

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