Petrochemical Industry

 from Diphex Chemical Safety

This is the transformation of crude oil and natural gas. The hydrocarbons are transformed into products used all through our daily lives. This processing involves many chemicals but two of particular note are Phenol and Hydrofluoric Acid.

Crude oil is distilled to separate the various fractions. The residue of this distillation process is Naphtha. Processes such as cracking, combining or reshaping then produces aromatic compounds such as Benzene, Toluene or Xylene or Olefins such as Ethylene, Propylene and carbon derivatives. Further transformations of these derivatives yield plastics and synthetic fibres used to produce everyday products.

Chemical risks within the industry are many. Each stage of the process will present its own risks:


Chemical reagents such as Hydrofluoric Acid, Sulphuric Acid or Potassium Hydroxide are used in alkylating processes. Phenol, Toluene and Methyl Ethyl Ketone are also used for oil production.

Ammonia can be used as a refrigerant to control product temperatures and Sodium Hydroxide and Amines are used to remove impurities.


There are chemical splash risks during sampling, testing and dosing processes.


Risks are always present when unloading, storing, transferring and decanting chemicals


Perhaps the most high risk processes on site. Accidents may occur when cleaning, purging or draining systems. Disassembling pipes or pumps gives rise to the highest number of incidents.

Additional risks occur within on-site facilities such as energy generation, effluent treatment and waste gas treatment for example. We cover the specifi chemical risks of these in other market sector documents.

Chemicals of note in this industry:

Manufacture: Phenol, Sulphuric Acid, Potassium Hydroxide,Hydrofluoric Acid.

Diphoterine® is suitable for all chemicals listed - apart from Hydrofluoric Acid for which Hexafluorine® is recommended. These, used in addition with Trivorex®, Polycaptor® and Le Vert ®/ Le Vert HF®, can provide security in dealing with all chemical splashes and spills.

Additional Reading:

Sulphuric Acid

Sodium Hydroxide

Hydrofluoric Acid