Definition of petrochemical in US English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting substances obtained by the refining and processing of petroleum or natural gas.

    ‘a huge petrochemical works producing plastics’
    • ‘Oil spills, petrochemical pollution, DDT, and toxic defoliants have rendered this appendix on the Caspian Sea's air, soil, and water almost beyond repair.’
    • ‘Whatever the classification system, scientists have yet to produce a fully biodegradable alternative to conventional petrochemical derived plastics, without compromising properties and cost.’
    • ‘In fact, zeolites are the main catalysts in petrochemical refineries today.’
    • ‘And some of the most important inorganic compounds, such as sulphuric acid and ammonia, rely upon the petrochemical industry for their feedstocks.’
    • ‘Acetone is prepared by several routes, from petrochemical sources.’
    • ‘In qualitative terms, industrial sites, such as smelters, cement factories, oil refineries, and petrochemical plants, can emit a wide range of volatile agents and particulate matter.’
    • ‘Research and development efforts in the chemical industry are significantly more productive with the use of catalysis in fields such as fuel refining, petrochemical manufacturing, and environmental management.’
    • ‘Fugitive emissions are uncontrolled vapour emissions from leaking tanks, pipes, valves etc, commonly encountered in petrochemical industries.’
    • ‘The ethyl group is found for example during the thermal degradation of alkanes as is encountered during various petrochemical processes.’
    • ‘Incidentally, the term ‘pure essential oil’ (as claimed by the producers) is a misnomer because the highly toxic petrochemical solvent hexane is involved in the extraction process.’
    • ‘Later this year, the Iraqi industry ministry is expected to begin placing sections of heavy industry, petrochemical plants, sugar refineries and other enterprises on the auction block.’
    • ‘Under the hood are fluid tanks, hoses, and plastic clips made of petrochemical polymers.’
    • ‘The rise in asthma cases in children has often been linked to fragrances and there is considerable evidence that toluene, one of the petrochemical ingredients of many perfumes, can cause asthma in previously healthy people.’
    • ‘Just as suburban development was driving up the demand for gas in the 1960s, Exxon and Mobil used zeolites in petrochemical processes to convert crude oil to fuel while increasing purity and yield.’
    • ‘Conoco is one of a number of companies in Texas and Louisiana along a 300-mile stretch of the Gulf of Mexico coast that houses the largest collection of petrochemical refineries and factories in the world.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to petrochemistry.
      • ‘Although there are no data showing the connection between the two magmatic systems at shallow crustal levels during the eruption, the petrochemical data point to a common parent magma derived from a unique deep source.’
      • ‘Under its petrochemical and plastics segment, Atofina is the world's third largest producer of polypropylene, eighth largest supplier of polyethylene and fourth largest producer of polystyrene.’
      • ‘To implement the project, PTT must invest in the construction of a 6th gas separation plant to accommodate the natural gas demand for petrochemical production.’


usually petrochemicals
  • A chemical obtained from petroleum and natural gas.

    • ‘The OCA is convinced that some manufacturers are labeling their products organic when the majority of their ingredients are synthetically produced or contain petrochemicals.’
    • ‘Nylon 6 is formed from a petrochemical that contains six carbons, while nylon 6,6 is created from a reaction between two petrochemicals that contain six carbons each.’
    • ‘As a gardener and householder I have tried to live as responsibly as I can, by planting trees, recycling, composting, cutting down on our use of gas and electricity, and using a minimum of petrochemicals.’
    • ‘There are huge gluts in some sectors, particularly in property, infrastructure, carmaking, building materials, and certain kinds of petrochemicals, machinery and engineering.’
    • ‘A chemical engineer may specialize in pharmaceutical chemistry, petrochemicals, food additives, ceramics, environmental clean - up, safety engineering, or nuclear chemistry.’