A petrochemical refinery in Grangemouth, Scotland

Petroleum products are materials derived from crude oil (petroleum) as it is processed in oil refineries. Unlike petrochemicals, which are a collection of well-defined usually pure organic compounds, petroleum products are complex mixtures.[1] Most petroleum is converted into petroleum products, which include several classes of fuels.[2]

According to the composition of the crude oil and depending on the demands of the market, refineries can produce different shares of petroleum products. The largest share of oil products is used as "energy carriers", i.e. various grades of fuel oil and gasoline. These fuels include or can be blended to give gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, heating oil, and heavier fuel oils. Heavier (less volatile) fractions can also be used to produce asphalt, tar, paraffin wax, lubricating and other heavy oils. Refineries also produce other chemicals, some of which are used in chemical processes to produce plastics and other useful materials. Since petroleum often contains a few percent sulfur-containing molecules, elemental sulfur is also often produced as a petroleum product. Carbon, in the form of petroleum coke, and hydrogen may also be produced as petroleum products. The hydrogen produced is often used as an intermediate product for other oil refinery processes such as hydrocracking and hydrodesulfurization.

A breakdown of the products made from a typical barrel of US oil[3]

Specialty and by-products

Oil refineries will blend various feedstocks, mix appropriate additives, provide short-term storage, and prepare for bulk loading to trucks, barges, product ships, and railcars.[4]

Petroleum by-products

Over 6,000 items are made from petroleum waste by-products, including: fertilizer, flooring (floor covering), perfume, insecticide, petroleum jelly, soap, vitamins and some essential amino acids.[5]



  1. ^ Standard Handbook Oil Spill Environmental Forensics. 2016. doi:10.1016/c2015-0-00228-3. ISBN 9780128038321.
  2. ^ Walther W. Irion, Otto S. Neuwirth, "Oil Refining" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry 2005, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a18_051
  3. ^ U.S. Energy Information Administration > Petroleum > Navigator > Refinery Yield
  4. ^ "Pan oil". panoil.in. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  5. ^ List of 365 of 6000 petroleum by-products