95% of current world production of phenol is manufactured by
the oxidation of 1-methylethylbenzene (cumene), which is itself
produced by the reaction of benzene and propene. Both benzene
and propene are produced by the distillation and cracking of crude
oil (see Benzene story).
Phenol is therefore a petrochemical as currently produced, the
development of a viable one-step process being the target in this