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A Short History and Production Statistics of the Chemicals Industry for Railfans

Chemicals are vital to other industries such as construction, motor vehicles, paper, electronics, transportation, and agriculture. Petrochemicals are made primarily from petroleum and natural gas. Chemical plants are generally located near the petroleum and natural gas production centers or in regions close to other manufacturing businesses. The greatest concentration of chemical plants are in Texas, New Jersey, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Illinois. Many of these plants are interconnected via pipelines. However, for transporting finished chemicals the safest way is via the railroads. Compared with trucks, railroad have about 12 percent of the fatalities and 6 percent of the injuries that trucks do per ton-mile. The number of large truck accidents was 367,920 in 2006 vs. 2,962 for rail. Railroads moved 1.7 million carloads of hazardous chemicals in 2006.

OxyChem's Ingleside, TX, Plant is located in San Patricio County, directly across from Corpus Christi on Corpus Christi Bay. The plant was commissioned in March, 1977 by DuPont. OxyChem acquired the facility in September, 1987, and refurbished it. Production of chlorine and caustic soda began in March, 1988, and the ethylene dichloride plant started up in April 1989. An OxyMar VCM plant started up in December, 1990. All three facilities have been expanded in the ensuing years. A Cogeneration facility was added in 1999.

It is also used as a solvent, a refrigerant, a raw material for anesthetics, a plant growth regulator, and a medication. It is used in oxyethylene welding and cutting metals. As a compressed gas, it is used to initiate degreening and ripening of bananas, citrus fruits, honeydew melons, pears, and pineapples; on pineapples, it is applied before harvest to induce flowering. U.S. manufacturers of ethylene are Amoco Chemical Co., Alvin, TX; Lyondell Petrochemical Co., Channelview, TX; Chevron Chemical Co., Cedar Bayou, TX, and Port Arthur, TX; Dow Chemical USA, Freeport, TX, and Plaquemine, LA; DuPont, Orange, TX; Eastman Chemical Co., Longview, TX; Exxon Chemical Co., Baton Rouge, LA, and Baytown, TX; B.F. Goodrich Co., Calvert City, KY; Koch Refining Co., Corpus Christi, TX; Mobil Oil Co., Beaumont, TX, and Houston, TX; Occidental Petroleum Corp., Chocolate Bayou, TX, Corpus Christi, TX, and Lake Charles, LA; Sun Co., Brandenburg, KY, and Claymont, DE; Phillips Petroleum Co., Sweeny, TX; Quantum Chemical Co., Clinton, IA, Morris, IL, and Deer Park, TX; Rexene Corp., Odessa, TX; Shell Oil Co., Deer Park, TX, and Norco, LA; Texaco Chemical Co., Port Arthur, TX, and Port Neches, TX; Formosa Plastics Corp., Point Comfort, TX; Union Carbide Corp., Seadrift, TX, Taft, LA, and Texas City, TX; Javelina Gas Processing, Corpus Christi, TX; and Sweeney Olefins Limited Partnership, Sweeney, TX.

When it is linked together in long chains, or polystyrene, styrene is used predominantly in the production of polystyrene plastics and resins, such as in insulation or in the fabrication of fiberglass boats. Styrene is also used to make rubber. Products produced from styrene include packaging, electrical and thermal insulation, fiberglass, pipes, automobile parts, drinking cups and other food-use items, and carpet backing. Styrene has been manufactured in the United States since 1938. U.S. producers of styrene are Huntsman Chemical Corporation, Bayport, TX , Sterling Chemicals, Inc, Texas City, TX, Cos-Mar, Inc, Carville, LA 70721, Dow Chemical USA, Freeport, TX, ARCO Chemical Co, Channelview, TX, Amoco Corp, Production site: Texas City, TX, Chevron Corp, Production site: St James, LA, Rexene Products Co, Production site: Odessa, TX , Westlake Styrene Corporation, Sulfur, LA

Glycol Ethers
Glycol ethers are general solvents, also known as cellosolves, which are used in the semiconductor industry. They are also used in surface coatings, such as lacquers, paints, and varnishes; fingernail polishes and removers; dyes; writing inks; cleaners; and degreasers. U.S. manufacturers of ethylene glycol monoethyl ether are: Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Bayport, TX; and Union Carbide Corporation, Seadrift, TX.
U.S. manufacturers of ethylene glycol monobutyl ether are: Dow Chemical USA; Eastman Chemical Co, Kingsport, TN & Longview, TX; Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Bayport, TX; Shell Chemical Co, Geismar, LA; and Union Carbide Corporation, Seadrift, TX.
U.S. manufacturers of propylene glycol monomethyl ether are: Dow Chemical USA, Atlantic Richfield Co, and Olin Corp.

U.S. manufacturers of acetone are Allied-Signal, Inc, Philadelphia, PA; Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport, TN; General Electric Company, Mount Vernon, IN; Georgia Gulf Corporation, Bound Brook, NJ; The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Bayport, TX; JLM Chemicals Company, Blue Island, IL; Shell Oil Company, Deer Park, TX & Wood River, IL; Texaco, Inc, El Dorado, KS; Union Carbide Corporation Institute, WV; Aristech Chemical Corp, Haverhill, OH; and Dow Chemical USA, Oyster Creek, TX.

As a pure chemical, benzene is a clear, colorless liquid. It is used to make other intermediate chemicals and some types of plastics, liquid detergents, synthetic rubbers and fibers, and pesticides. It is used in plastic containers, adhesives, radios, toys, sporting goods, appliances, automobiles, tires, and textiles. Benzene has been used in the rotogravure printing industry, in shoe manufacturing, and chemical laboratories. It is also a component of motor vehicle gasoline. U.S. manufacturers of benzene are: Amerada Hess Corp, Hq, 1185 Ave of the Americas, St Croix, Virgin Islands; American Petrofina Inc, Port Arthur, TX; Amoco Corp, Texas City, TX ; Aristech Chemical Corporation, Clairton, PA; Arochem International Inc, Penuelas, PR; Ashland Oil, Inc, Catlettsburg, KY; Atlantic Richfield Co, Channelview, TX; BP America, Inc, Lima, OH; Champlin Refining & Chemicals Inc, Corpus Christi, TX; Chevron Corp, Philadelphia, PA, Port Arthur, TX; Citgo Petroleum Corp, Lake Charles, LA; The Coastal Corp, Westville, NJ, Corpus Christi, TX; Crown Central Petroleum Corp, Pasadena, TX; Dow Chemical USA, Freeport, TX, Plaquemine, LA; Exxon Corp, Baton Rouge, LA, Baytown, TX; Kerr-McGee Corp, Corpus Christi, TX; Koch Industries, Inc, Corpus Christi, TX; Mobil Corp, Beaumont, TX, Chalmette, LA; Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Chocolate Bayou, TX; Phillips Petroleum Company, Sweeny, TX, Guayama, PR; Salomon Inc, Houston, TX; Shell Oil Company, Deer Park, TX, Odessa, TX, Wood River, IL; Sun Company, Inc, Marcus Hook, PA, Toledo, OH, Tulsa, OK; Texaco Inc, Delaware City, DE; El Dorado, KS, Port Arthur, TX; Unocal Corp, Beaumont, TX, Chicago, IL; and USX Corporation, Texas City, TX.

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