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Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Decarbonizing Chemicals & Refining

Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Decarbonizing Chemicals & Refining

Full Title: Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Decarbonizing Chemicals & Refining
Author(s): Maressa Brennan, Hannah Murdoch, Jay Fitzgerald, and Paul Majsztrik
Publisher(s): U.S. Department of Energy
Publication Date: September 2, 2023
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

The U.S. chemicals & refining sectors are key economic drivers, employers, and export commodities. U.S. chemicals production and oil refining contribute ~8% to GDP and are critical for energy security. These sectors produce primary fuels for transportation, power, and heat; provide essential inputs to widely used downstream products, including plastics, fertilizer, and pharmaceuticals; and represent major U.S. export commodities. In 2022, the United States was both the world’s top oil producer and oil refiner, responsible for ~20% of refined products globally. The United States is responsible for ~11% of global chemicals production. For context, chemicals is the largest export sector for the U.S. at 9% of all
exports, with a 12% growth potential by 2030. Continuous access to secure, affordable, and reliable oil, chemicals, and derivative products is critical to the American public, the clean energy transition, and the national security of the United States.
Chemicals & refining production are interconnected, sharing many linked production pathways and opportunities to decarbonization. For example, fossil fuels are used as a feedstock across both sectors, with refined oil products used for heating in many chemical processes. The markets are also interlinked, with many global companies producing both refined oil and chemical products. Both sectors generate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with upstream feedstock extraction, production processes, and downstream usage (Figure 1). This report focuses on production process emissions generated “inside the fence” at today’s chemicals plants and oil refineries as well as indirect emissions from electricity purchases
(Scope 1 and 2 emissions of U.S. chemicals & refining production).

All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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