Petroleum Refining & Chemical Products

3 Oil Derricks at Sunset
  • The Capital of Energy Independence

    It's legendary: in 1901, an oil derrick called Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas sent a gusher in the air that made headlines all over the world. Today, Texas leads the nation in petroleum refining and chemical products production and is a global leader in the closely related petrochemical industry.

    #2 on the Fortune 500: Texas is home to ExxonMobil, headquartered in Irving, Texas, providing oil, gas and chemicals to the world. It is second in the Fortune 500 companies.

    Houston, Energy Capital of the World: Texas is home to over 50 energy-related companies on the Fortune 1000 list. More than 3,700 energy-related establishments are located within the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area,.-Greater Houston Partnership

    5.7 million barrels a day to fuel America: As of January 2019, the 29 petroleum refineries in Texas had a capacity of more than 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day and accounted for 31% of total U.S. refining capacity. –U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Texas accounted for about 24% of U.S. marketed natural gas production in 2017, making it the leading natural gas producer among the states. EIA  In 2017, Texas crude oil production accounted for 37% of U.S. total production. EIA

    Well-paid consumers: The average yearly wage in Texas' refining and chemical manufacturing industry is $95,000.

    A high-energy workforce: With 100,000 workers employed, Texas is home to the largest petrochemical cluster in the world.

    The stuff everything is made of: Houston alone accounts for over 40 percent of the nation's base petrochemical capacity.

    Additional industry information:

  • Ideal Conditions for Producing and Moving Energy

    Texas is home to 27 petroleum refineries which can process 5.1 million barrels of crude oil per day. The ExxonMobil refinery in Baytown is the second largest oil refinery in the United States. It has capacity of 584,000 barrels per day. Texas refineries produce 29.1 percent of the nation's oil refining capacity. Major Texas petroleum refining employers dominate the Fortune 500 list: ExxonMobil (#2), Phillips66 (#4), Valero Energy (#13), Tesoro (#77), HollyFrontier (#150), and Western Refining (#204). Fortune 500

    Houston, which is considered the energy capital of the nation and a world center for virtually every segment of the petroleum industry, is home to more than 3,700 energy-related establishments and a number of Fortune 500 energy companies. It is also the logistic control center for moving most of the nation's petroleum and natural gas. Furthermore, Houston is the Permanent Secretariat of the World Energy Cities Partnership (WECP), a collaboration among 19 energy cities worldwide providing a platform for information exchange, networking and public relations. Greater Houston Partnership

    More than Fuel - the Chemicals that Produce American Goods

    Chemicals play an important role in our everyday lives. The Texas chemical industry supplies products that are used to make automobiles, pharmaceuticals, computers, grow food and build homes. Most chemical manufacturing companies in Texas convert natural petroleum and mineral resources into thousands of other materials used in other industries to make or grow products. Texas chemical manufacturers produce and process more than 50 percent of the total U.S. chemical production, and approximately 50 percent of the nation's petrochemical production, a subsector of the chemical industry.

    The Texas Enterprise Fund Primes the Petroleum Industry

    Petroleum is a wise investment, creating thousands of jobs with nearly every new initiative. The Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) makes substantial investments made in Texas companies desiring to expand operations in the state. CITGO Petroleum received a $5 million TEF grant to move its corporate headquarters to Houston and enhance its Corpus Christi high-efficiency refining facility through re-tooling to allow for the production of two new product lines of low sulfur fuels. The refinery employs more than 1,000 workers and has an economic impact on the community of more than $600 million.

    The largest single capital investment commitment for a TEF project in Texas is a multi-year refinery expansion by Motiva that began in 2006. Saudi Refining, Inc. (a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's Saudi Aramco) and Shell Oil Company (an affiliate of the Netherlands' Royal Dutch Shell plc) completed their joint-venture project in May 2012, making the Motiva Enterprises Texas Gulf Coast refinery the largest refinery in the nation. Located in Port Arthur, Texas, the refinery has a diverse workforce of approximately 1,300 full-time employees and more than 500 contractors on site each day.

    With a TEF grant of $675,000, TapcoEnpro International broke ground in 2010 on a new manufacturing facility in Baytown, Texas, which is expected to generate an estimated $26 million in capital investment. The new facility builds large vessels for the refining and petrochemical industries, supports the production of large valve products and houses some of the most modern machining and fabrication equipment available in the industry.

  • Educating the Engineers that Keep America Rolling

    Optimizing processes: Many leaders in the petrochemical industry get their start in the heart of Texas, the University of Texas at Austin, home of the Cockrell School of Engineering. U.S. News & World Report ranks the UT Department of Petroleum Engineering graduate program 1st in the nation, the undergraduate program is ranked 2nd. The school focuses a key area of research on process engineering, studying and innovating the design, modeling, optimization, control of petrochemical and pharmaceutical and microelectronic processes. - UT Austin Cockrell School of Engineering

    Developing zeolites: Researchers in Rice University's Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology are leading the search for new zeolites – microporous minerals commonly used as catalysts. The petrochemical industry uses zeolites to crack petroleum into gasoline, diesel and other products. The research being done at Rice has significantly expanded the list of known zeolites and researchers are confident that these new zeolites should be able to be manufactured, aiding industries in optimizing their techniques which utilize zeolites.

    Manipulating tiny materials for high efficiency: Nanotechnology research at Rice University's George R. Brown School of Energy aims to increase the efficiency and environmental friendliness of gasoline manufacturing as well as to produce higher-octane gasoline by making better catalysts to use in the hydrocarbon refining process. One goal of the team's work with tungsten oxide nanoparticles and inert zirconia is to save the industry money as efficiencies in refining processes are implemented.

    Safer industry: The Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, part of the Chemical Engineering Department at Texas A&M, promotes safety in the chemical industry through developing safer processes, equipment, procedures and management strategies to minimize losses within the processing industry. The center provides specialist consulting services in safety and fire protection in the design, engineering, construction and operation of chemical plants and refineries.

    Cyber defense for the petroleum industry: The Center for Petroleum Security Research (CPSR) at the University of Texas at Tyler aims to decrease the vulnerability of the petroleum industry in the U.S. Midwest to cyber attacks on computer-based monitoring and control systems known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. CPSR's research focuses on vulnerability assessment, associated risk assessment and techniques for improving SCADA security in the cyber infrastructure of the petroleum industry.

    Independent R&D in The Woodlands: The Huntsman Advanced Technology Center (HATC) is a research and development campus in The Woodlands, Texas that was built as the result of a $2.75 million Texas Enterprise Fund grant. The HATC is home to more than 240 scientists, engineers, technicians, technical service and support staff who perform a wide range of research and development activities for Huntsman's Performance Products, Polyurethanes and Advanced Materials divisions. Some examples of R&D applications coming out of the HATC are: a wide range of epoxy based adhesives and coatings products for electronics and industrial applications, specialty resins for high performance composites in aerospace, wind energy, automotive and sports/leisure and rigid and flexible polyurethane foam systems used in construction insulation, appliances, automotive, furniture and bedding.

  • Creating Chemicals, Creating Jobs

    Each chemical industry job generates another six jobs in related industries. With more than 70,000 well-paid Texans working in chemical manufacturing, the industry creates more than 400,000 jobs. When people have jobs, the economy thrives.

    A Sampling of the Private Workforce Employed by the Petroleum Refining and Chemical Industry

    Industry Industry Code Firms Employment Average Annual Wage ($)
    Petroleum Refineries 32411 69 586 78,844
    Basic Chemical Manufacturing 3251 425 32,518 115,736
    Petrochemical Manufacturing 32511 80 15,649 117,906
    Resin, Rubber and 
    Synthetic Fibers
    3252 129 9,385 101,819
    Agricultural Chemical Manufacturing 3253 112 3,158 82,425
    Paint, Coating and 
    Adhesive Manufacturing
    3255 143 5,552 69,725
    Cleaning Compound and 
    Toiletry Manufacturing
    3256 164 5,361 66,142
    Other Chemical 
    Preparation Manufacturing
    3259 266 8,936 84,787
    Plastics Product Manufacturing 3261 685 33,514 47,382

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013)

    Petroleum & Chemical Workforce Concentrations

    An existing cluster of firms in a particular industry leads to the creation and maintenance of a trained labor force from which other businesses can draw. As a result, regions in Texas with specific labor pools continue to attract new business expansions and relocations in those same sectors.

    The analysis on which the workforce cluster maps are based compares the portion of a Texas region's workforce employed in a certain sector to the portion of the entire U.S. workforce employed in that sector. The comparison provides a ratio that measures how intensively a certain region is specialized in a particular industry, and ranks it as "moderate," "above average" or "high." The regions highlighted in this report do not represent the only areas in Texas where a relevant labor force can be found, but represent the areas of the state with the greatest concentrations of employment in these given industries.


    Exxon Mobile Logo
    Irving (HQ)
    Phillips 66 Logo
    Houston (HQ)
    Valero Logo
    San Antonio (HQ)
    B P Logo
    Houston (Americas HQ)
    Tesoro Logo
    San Antonio (HQ)
    Holly Frontier Corporation Logo
    Dallas (HQ)
    Western Refining Logo
    El Paso (HQ)


    Dow Logo
    Houston & Texas City
    Exxon Mobile Chemical Logo
    Houston (HQ)
    Chevron Phillips Chemical Company
    The Woodlands (HQ)
    B A S F Logo
    Freeport, Port Arthur, Pasadena, & Beaumont
    Lyondellbasell Logo
    Houston (Americas HQ)
    Celanese Logo
    Dallas (HQ)
    Eastman Logo
    Westlake Chemical Logo
    Houston (HQ)