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History of oil processing and by-products

Ronald Stein

The hydrocarbon processing industry, i.e., refineries, has a rich history of discovery, challenges, breakthroughs, trial and error, collaboration, and success. Looking back a little more than 100 years, it’s easy to see how civilization has benefited from more than 250 leading-edge, hydrocarbon processing licensed refining technologies used by the more than 700 refineries worldwide that service the demands of the 8 billion living on earth with more than 6,000 products made from the oil derivatives manufactured out of raw crude oil at refineries. None of these products were available to society before 1900.

As the world engaged in conflict in the 1940’s, demand for fuels and chemical products manufactured from crude oil soared to aid in the war effort. Post-WW2 ushered in new technological advances for producing higher octane fuels and chemical products that increased the standard of living for hundreds of millions around the world.