Petrochemicals are the building blocks used to make almost everything, including plastics, medical devices, phones, clothes, cosmetics, and appliances.




Why should I care?

Why Petrochemicals Matter To You

Petrochemicals are the building blocks used to make almost everything, including plastics, medicines, medical devices, cosmetics, furniture, appliances, TVs and radios, computers, and parts used in transportation, solar power panels and wind turbines.  

Where do they come from?  

Approximately 99 percent of U.S. petrochemicals are derived from oil or natural gas. Petrochemicals are created from ethane, propane, butane, naptha and other hydrocarbons extracted from crude oil and natural gas liquids. The women and men in the petrochemical industry make these essential building blocks at high-tech facilities across the country.

Who relies on petrochemicals? 

Everyone.  Check out the chart below to see how petrochemicals make our modern lives possible:









Where can I learn more?

Explore our education site to learn about the petrochemical manufacturing process:

American Shale & Manufacturing Partnership

The United States is the largest natural gas producer in the world due to shale development. Newly developed resources have given the petrochemical industry an affordable energy and feedstock supply – this abundance of affordable natural resources, combined with advanced manufacturing infrastructure, high-tech distribution networks and the ability to quickly innovate, puts America in a competitive position in chemical manufacturing for the first time in decades. Since petrochemicals are a key component of the supply chain for many industries, a strong petrochemical sector will lift the manufacturing sector and foster a thriving economy.

AFPM members are committed to empowering American manufacturing. To fully realize and address potential barriers to the manufacturing renaissance, AFPM formed the American Shale & Manufacturing Partnership (ASMP). This multi-stakeholder initiative brings industry, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labor, and government together to focus on shale development and its impact on American manufacturing. The Partnership identified five key areas that are crucial to spur economic growth, job creation, and global competitiveness for years to come:

  • Federal and State Policies that create an attractive business environment and eliminate regulatory uncertainty
  • Environmental Practices to ensure the industry continues to provide better products while meeting or exceeding environmental requirements
  • Infrastructure Plans supported by streamlined access to construction capacity, equipment and permits
  • Workforce Development to communicate the benefits of a career in the industry and ensure availability of a well-trained labor pool
  • Research and Innovation to continue developing new products and processes that will spur ongoing industry growth

The ASMP released its recommendations and roadmap to a renewed manufacturing sector on January 28, 2015.