The processes that produce benzene are all dependent on fossil
fuels, primarily natural gas and crude oil. A very small quantity
of benzene is obtained from distilling the oil from coke ovens
(used to make coke for the iron and steel industry).
Steam cracking uses either the naphtha fraction from the distillation
of crude oil, or ethane found dissolved in oil or in natural gas.
In general, naphtha is the main feedstock used in the UK and Western
Europe. Ethane is used in the US, simply because ethane is in
abundance in the natural gas found in that part of the world.
Catalytic reforming also uses the naphtha fraction.
The disproportionation of methylbenzene makes use of one of the
products from the catalytic reforming carried out on the naphtha
Aromatics plants are generally situated within refineries or
petrochemical complexes, reflecting the interconnection between
the feedstocks for these processes. It also allows for the re-use
of hydrocarbon fractions, after aromatics removal, as gasoline
or feedstock to steam crackers.