Petroleum & Refinery

Petroleum products are hydrocarbon-based compounds derived mainly from crude oil and natural gas. These raw materials may be refined through purification, distillation, and conversion. Some of the most manufactured refinery products are combustible fuels used in the automotive and aviation industries such as gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. Other refined products are naphtha, ethane, and methane, which serve as feedstocks for polymers such as plastics, elastomers, and resins. From plastic-wrapped cookies to time-release vitamin pills, our world is shaped by petroleum.

The most common petroleum product is gasoline. Oil prices determine end-consumer prices for motor fuels; vice versa, a significant change in motor fuel demand may directly impact producer prices for crude oil, as seen during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, economic recovery buoyed oil prices above pre-pandemic levels.

Most produced petroleum product
Highest OPEC basket closing price in 2021
84.66 USD/bbl
Country with highest average premium gasoline prices in 2020

Market size

Refinery capacities and throughput
Refinery capacity for crude oil worldwide from 1970 to 2020 (in 1,000 barrels per day)
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Oil refineries are often owned and operated by large oil and gas producers. They are typically located along rivers or coastlines, as refining processes require extensive amounts of water. Meanwhile, nearby ports offer the means of transporting finished petroleum products to consumer markets. Today’s refineries have a combined daily capacity of over 100 million barrels of crude oil. The U.S. has the greatest oil processing capacity; more than all OPEC member states combined.

Global oil refinery industry
Global lubricants industry
Petroleum sector in India

Market segments

Gasoline reigns supreme in automotive industry
Breakdown of light vehicle sales in the United States in 2021, by fuel type
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Gasoline is the most used motor fuel in the global automotive industry. Despite strides made in introducing non-fossil fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, they are generally used in combination with petroleum-based gasoline or diesel in order to work in the average combustion engine. Nevertheless, many governments impose levies and taxes as an incentive to reduce their consumption, which leads to countries such as the Netherlands having some of the highest gasoline prices in the world.

Oil and gasoline prices
Gasoline market in the U.S.
Gasoline-powered vehicle market in the U.S.

Industry trends

Biofuel investments stagnate
Leading countries by share of global biofuel production worldwide in 2020
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Biomass-sourced motor fuels are won from renewable resources such as maize, canola, and other crops, as well as vegetable and cooking oil wastes. Although gasoline is still the most prominent motor fuel type, the production of biofuels has seen solid growth in the past two decades. The United States and Brazil account for the largest biofuel production share and are consequently also among the most important markets for fuel ethanol and biodiesel.

Biofuel industry in Europe
Biofuel industry in South America
Biofuel industry in the U.S.

Industry leaders

Reliance Industries owns world's largest oil refinery
Largest oil refineries worldwide by daily capacity as of 2021 (in barrels per day)
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Asia is home to more oil refineries than any other region in the world. This is unsurprising given that some of the largest petroleum refiners worldwide are Chinese state-owned companies. Sinopec has a greater atmospheric distillation capacity than any other oil and gas major and an annual throughput of around 240 million metric tons. Meanwhile, the Reliance Industries-owned refinery facility in Jamnagar, India, is the largest oil processing complex in the world.

Singapore refining margin
Reliance Industries Limited
Sinopec's refinery throughput

Industry definition

The petroleum and refinery category provides statistics and reports on the mid- and downstream oil and gas sector as well as on biofuels. Statista has assembled information on the production of petroleum products on global, regional, and local scales. Additionally, the category provides trading figures, prices, and market forecasts.


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