September 2022

The 2000s

History of the HPI: The 2000s: Net-zero, environmental regulations, capacity acceleration and digital transformation

This final installment of the History of the HPI series details major events in the refining and petrochemicals industry over the past 20 yr, including stricter regulations/initiatives to curb carbon emissions, a safer and more environmentally friendly way to produce and handle chemicals, significant capital investments to boost production capacity and digital transformation.

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Over the past 170 yr, refining and petrochemical production has evolved immensely, not only in the sheer size of plants but also in the technologies that enable them to operate efficiently and safely. Since 2000, new regulations and technological discoveries have advanced the industry even further, leading to hundreds of billions of dollars being invested in new production capacity, as well as on new digital technologies to enhance production, safety/training, operations and supply/value chains. This final installment of the History of the HPI series details major events in the refining and petrochemicals industry over the past 20 yr, including stricter regulations/initiatives to curb carbon emissions, a safer and more environmentally friendly way to produce and handle chemicals, significant capital investments to boost production capacity and digital transformation.

Environmental issues accelerate clean fuels production and chemical operations

Since the 1970s, a prevailing trend within the HPI has been the constant pursuit of reducing sulfur content in transportation fuels to produce a higher-quality product. In turn, new technologies and regulations have led to a reduction in emissions in many parts of the world. This trend would continue for the next 50 yr as governments sought to reduce carbon emissions from industry.

Over the past 30 yr, stricter emissions standards have been enacted in many nations around the world. These standards arose from the U.S. tiered standards (e.g., Tier 1–3) and European standards (e.g., Euro 1–6, Euro I–VI) of the early 1990s and 2000s. These standards originated from research conducted on limiting smog in major cities in the U.S. and Western Europe, primarily in France and Germany. The implementation of European emissions standards in the early 1990s and 2000s would eventually become a global standard for many countries to adhere to new clean fuels regulations. For example, many nations would adopt European fuel specifications for domestically produced fuels (e.g., Bharat Stage-6 in India, China 6 in China).

The adoption of higher-quality fuel specifications does not come without a price. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent over the past several decades to build new secondary unit capacity additions to both remove sulfur from crude oil and boost octane levels of fuels. This trend continues today as many nations strive to produce low-sulfur and ultra-low-sulfur (ULS) transportation fuels. Many countries have invested in new units to produce higher-quality fuels, as well as increased mandatory bio-content blending rates (i.e., biofuels) and the production of renewable fuels.

Chemical regulations: Responsible Care and REACH are adopted. Strict regulations transformed the chemicals industry, as well. In the 2000s, new initiatives and regulations on the production and usage of chemicals, along with their impact on human health and the environment, became paramount, particularly in Europe but also in other producing countries.

For example, the Responsible Care initiative was established to improve the performance and environmental awareness of the global chemical industry. The initiative was launched by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada in 1985.250 The program evolved over the next two decades, culminating in the launch of the Responsible Care Global Charter at the United Nations-led International Conference on Chemicals Management in Dubai in 2006.251 The charter is a voluntary commitment to safe chemicals management, performance and handling to protect both the public and the environment. According to the International Council of Chemical Associations,250 the global charter consists of the following six elements:

  1. A corporate leadership culture that proactively supports safe chemicals management through the global Responsible Care initiative
  2. Safeguarding people and the environment by continuously improving the environmental, health and safety performance and security of chemical facilities, processes and technologies
  3. Strengthening chemicals management systems by participating in the development and implementation of lifecycle-oriented, science- and risk-based chemical safety legislation and best practices
  4. Influencing business partners to promote the safe management of chemicals within plant operations
  5. Engaging stakeholders, understanding and responding to their concerns and expectations for safer operations and products and communicating openly on performance and production
  6. Contributing to sustainability through improved performance, expanded economic opportunities and the development of innovative technologies and other solutions to societal challenges.

Today, Responsible Care is practiced in nearly 70 countries, representing nearly 90% of global chemical production.251

Approximately 1 yr after the launch of the Responsible Care Global Charter, the European Union (EU) adopted one of the most comprehensive and strictest laws within the chemical industry: EC 1907/2006. The EU regulation—known as the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals (REACH)—was put in place to protect human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals, as well as promote alternative methods for the hazard assessment of substances to reduce the number of tests on animals.252 The regulation also created the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which manages the technical and administrative aspects of REACH.

Companies that manufacture chemicals in the EU or import chemicals into the region of at least 1 tpy must register the chemical(s) with the ECHA.253 According to the agency, REACH applies to all chemical substances, whether they are used in industrial processes or in the daily lives of European citizens (e.g., cleaning supplies). Companies must identify and manage the risks linked to their chemicals manufactured or used within the EU. If risks cannot be managed, authorities can restrict the use of substances within the region.252

At the time of this publication, the ECHA has collected more than 23,000 valid REACH registrations from nearly 16,100 companies.254

The Paris Agreement, ensuing environmental regulations and the movement to net-zero. Over the past 30 yr, many nations have enacted new regulations and initiatives to limit carbon emissions. One of the first major global initiatives to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was the Kyoto Protocol established by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Adopted in late 1997, the treaty’s primary goal was to limit GHG emissions—carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride—in 37 industrialized countries, economies in transition and the EU.255, 256

The protocol comprised two commitment periods. The first commitment period (2008–2012) called for participating countries to reduce emissions by 5% vs. 1990 levels. The Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 ushered in the second commitment period (2013–2020)—the amendment was signed at the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) in Doha, Qatar. Within this period, the participating countries committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18% vs. 1990 levels.255

FIG. 1. The Paris Agreement was adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference (referred to as COP21) in Paris, France in 2015. From left to right: Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Director of UNFCCC; Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General; Laurent Fabius, Former Foreign Minister of France and President of the UN Climate Change Conference; François Hollande, Former President of France. Photo courtesy of the United Nations.
FIG. 1. The Paris Agreement was adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference (referred to as COP21) in Paris, France in 2015. From left to right: Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Director of UNFCCC; Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General; Laurent Fabius, Former Foreign Minister of France and President of the UN Climate Change Conference; François Hollande, Former President of France. Photo courtesy of the United Nations.

The Kyoto Protocol was a precursor to the Paris Agreement. Adopted in 2015—and entered into force in late 2016—at the UN Climate Change Conference (referred to as COP21) in Paris, France, the Paris Agreement called for nations around the world to curb emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C vs. pre-industrial levels (FIG. 1).257 This agreement would usher in a new era of environmental awareness in energy production as countries and industry strived for net-zero economies and operations. At the time of this publication, more than 190 parties have signed the treaty to join the Paris Agreement.257

To adhere to provisions within the Paris Agreement, several countries are dramatically transforming domestic energy generation capabilities and looking to zero-carbon pathways to power their economies. The EU has been a champion for reduced emissions. Prior to the Paris Agreement, the EU had already enacted the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in 2009, which required that 20% of the energy consumed in the EU be renewable.258 Following the Paris Agreement, the EU revised the RED initiative by increasing required renewables usage in the bloc to 32% by 2030—this initiative was called RED 2. The European Commission (EC) proposed a revision to RED 2 in July 2021 that called for increasing renewable requirements to 40% by 2030. Within the EC’s REPowerEU plan published in May 2022, renewable requirements could reach as high as 45% by 2030—the REPowerEU initiative calls for the EU to completely wean off the use of Russian natural gas supplies, a direct effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.259

The increased usage of renewables stems from the EU’s Green New Deal. Approved in 2020, the ambitious initiative’s goal is to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The policies put forth in the Green New Deal call for the reduction of net GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030 vs. 1990 levels—the initiative is expected to cost more than €1 T.260,261 Several of the policies put forth in the Green New Deal include decarbonizing the mobility sector (e.g., starting in 2035, only zero carbon dioxide-emitting new cars can be sold in the EU);262 building a hydrogen economy for net-zero power generation; using alternative fuels to power shipping, rail and mass transit; and incorporating a significant amount of renewables capacity in the region.

The Paris Agreement has also inspired many other nations to invest in reducing carbon emissions within their economies. These initiatives include the use of renewable fuels; an increase in the production/blending rates of biofuels; utilizing low-carbon-emitting fuels in the marine sector (e.g., the International Maritime Organization’s Global Sulfur Cap regulation was enacted in January 2020, which required marine vessels to reduce sulfur content of their fuels from 3.5% to 0.5%—the regulation affected more than 50,000 ships worldwide); an increased adoption of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles; a shift to a hydrogen-economy; and capital-intensive investments in carbon capture and storage and carbon capture, storage and utilization projects; among others.

Capacity acceleration: Rise of the East, Middle East diversification and U.S. shale

Over the past 30 yr, HPI capacity additions have significantly increased in Asia, the Middle East and the U.S. This surge in processing capacity has equated to significant investments in new refining and petrochemical plants, expansions, grassroots facilities and gas processing/LNG infrastructure.

Asian demand leads to a surge in capital investments. In the past 20 yr, more than 1 B people in Asia have moved into higher socioeconomic classes. For example, in 2000, less than 1 B people in Asia were considered part of the consumer class (i.e., those that spend more than $11/d). By 2020, that number increased to 2 B, and forecasts show that Asia’s middle class could reach more than 3 B by 2030.263,264

Since 2000, several Asian nations have witnessed a surge in industrial activity, leading to a steady growth in domestic economies. As many Asian nations’ economies grew, surging demand for refined fuels, petrochemical products and natural gas led to a flood of capital investments in new processing capacities. From 2000–2021, oil consumption in Asia skyrocketed more than 12.6 MMbpd to nearly 34 MMbpd, according to bp’s Statistical Review of World Energy.181 In response, the region has added nearly 15 MMbpd of refining capacity (net). China alone has added more than 10.7 MMbpd within the same timeframe.181

Much of these capacity additions adhere to European fuel specifications (e.g., Euro 3, 4 and 5)—clean fuels (ULS gasoline and diesel) regulations have become a global initiative to limit smog/pollution, especially in major cities. To produce ULS fuels, Asian producers have built some of the most complex refining networks in the world.

Along with increased demand for transportation fuels, Asia’s thirst for petrochemicals and natural gas have expanded exponentially—the region’s natural gas consumption has nearly tripled to more than 860 Bm3y since 2000.181 Consumption of petrochemicals in Asia has increased by tens of millions of tons per year as more individuals move up socioeconomic classes and demand more products comprised of thermoplastics. In turn, Asia has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in new petrochemical capacity additions over the past 20 yr. These investments include grassroots facilities, expansions, upgrades, mega-integrated complexes and the installation of new petrochemical plants into existing refining operations.

To help decarbonize economies, many Asian nations have invested in new natural gas infrastructure over the past decade. For example, several Asian countries have converted coal-fired power plants to use natural gas. However, many Asian nations must import natural gas supplies to use as feedstock for power generation. In turn, the region has built tens of millions of tons per year in new LNG import infrastructure and tens of thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines. Capital-intensive natural gas/LNG infrastructure buildouts continue today.

The Middle East diversifies its products portfolio. The Middle East has changed drastically since oil was first discovered in Persia (modern-day Iran) in 1908. Approximately 4 yr later (1912), the region’s first refinery was built by the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. (APOC) in Abadan—APOC would later adopt the name bp after the British became the majority shareholder in the company.8 More than 100 yr later, the Middle East has not only become a major oil producing and exporting region but has also invested heavily in the production of transportation fuels, petrochemical products and natural gas.

Major regional investments in hydrocarbon processing plants accelerated in the 2010s, primarily due to dramatic volatility in crude oil pricing. In 2012, global crude oil prices skyrocketed to more than $120/bbl due to an improving global economy, increased oil demand, oil speculation and Iranian sanctions.265 Western nations sanctioned Iran due to the country’s pursuit of a nuclear program. These sanctions had the potential to knock more than 2 MMbpd of Iranian oil exports off the market and lead Iran to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman—approximately one-third of waterborne oil shipments pass through the strait daily.266

However, the forecasted oil consumption never materialized, and prices took a freefall. From 2014–2016, global oil prices fell from $120/bbl to less than $30/bbl. The significant decline in oil prices severely dented Middle Eastern oil revenues, the primary source for the region’s economies.

Although several capital-intensive projects had been announced in the region prior to the crude oil price plunge (e.g., aromatics and methanol plants in Oman; Borouge 2 construction in the UAE; and major projects by NATPET, PetroRabigh, SATORP and SADARA in Saudi Arabia), nearly all Middle Eastern countries announced major capital investments in new hydrocarbon processing capacity to both mitigate the reliance on oil export revenues and diversify their product portfolios.267 These investments focused on grassroots refining and petrochemical facilities, clean fuels production, integrated complexes and natural gas infrastructure (e.g., gas processing plants, LNG terminals, pipelines).

For example, the following are major investment commitments—many capital programs continue into the mid- and late-2020s—from various Middle Eastern nations since the mid-2010s:

  • Kuwait invested more than $30 B on the Clean Fuels Project and 615,000-bpd Al-Zour refinery (FIG. 2) to become the region’s leader in clean fuels production
  • Oman invested and continues to invest more than $15 B to boost processing infrastructure
  • Saudi Arabia has and continues to invest tens of billions of dollars in refining and petrochemical capacity additions as part of the country’s Vision 2030 initiative
  • Qatar is investing $30 B to increase domestic LNG liquefaction capacity from 77 MMtpy to more than 125 MMtpy by 2027
  • The UAE continues to invest billions of dollars to expand domestic refining capacity and triple petrochemical production capacity as part of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.’s (ADNOC’s) 2030 Strategy
  • Bahrain continues to invest billions to expand and modernize its refining industry
  • Iran, despite years of sanctions, has and continues to invest heavily in increasing domestic refining and petrochemicals capacities.
FIG. 2. Construction on the 615,000-bpd Al Zour refinery in Kuwait. The refinery was commissioned in 2Q 2022. Photo courtesy of Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Co.
FIG. 2. Construction on the 615,000-bpd Al Zour refinery in Kuwait. The refinery was commissioned in 2Q 2022. Photo courtesy of Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Co.

These investments have not only created millions of jobs within the region but have also provided Middle Eastern nations with new high-quality products for export to the global market, providing tens of billions of dollars in trade revenues.

U.S. shale transforms the U.S. processing landscape. One of the most impactful events in the history of the U.S. hydrocarbon processing landscape was the discovery of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Although the technology came into prominence in the 2000s, the history of fracking dates to the 1860s. During the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia in the U.S. Civil War, Colonel Edward A. L. Roberts noticed how exploding Confederate artillery rounds affected a narrow canal on the battlefield. This observation was the genesis of the technique Roberts called superincumbent fluid tamping.268 According to literature, superincumbent fluid tamping is when water dampens an explosion, preventing any debris from blowing back up the well hole, thus amplifying its effects.269 This technique spawned Roberts’ invention of the exploding torpedo, which he believed could be used in the burgeoning oil production industry.

FIG. 3. View of Roberts’ exploding torpedo. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Patent Office.<sup>272</sup>
FIG. 3. View of Roberts’ exploding torpedo. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Patent Office.272

The exploding torpedo was an explosive device that would fracture the surrounding rock at the bottom of an oil well to stimulate flow. The torpedo was an iron case filled with 15 lb–20 lb of gunpowder. It was lowered to the bottom of an oil well and detonated via a wire running from the shell to the surface. The explosion filled the borehole with water (i.e., fluid tamping), which concentrated the explosion, providing a more efficient fracture of surrounding rock.270,271 After several successful tests, Roberts patented his exploding torpedo in 1866 (FIG. 3), eventually switching from gunpowder to nitroglycerin.

Modern-day hydraulic fracturing began in the 1940s with experiments conducted by Floyd Farris of Stanolind Oil and Gas Co. These experiments included injecting 1,000 gal of gelled gasoline and sand into gas-producing limestone in the Hugoton gas field in southwest Kansas (U.S.). This was followed by injecting a gel breaker to stimulate the well.273 Although the tests were not successful in significantly increasing well production, it did mark the beginning of modern-day fracking.

In 1949, Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Co. (Halliburton today) began its own fracking experiments in Oklahoma (U.S.) and Texas (U.S.), which were much more successful. Over the next 30 yr, fracking grew in prominence in the U.S. In the 1980s and 1990s, George P. Mitchell incorporated a new technique in oil production that combined hydraulic fracking with horizontal drilling—this technique also used slick water, a combination of water, chemicals and sand that could increase the pressure in the rock formation. Mitchell’s company (Mitchell Energy and Development Corp.) conducted several successful experiments in the Barnett Shale formation in Texas, which spread into other shale basins in Arkansas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and states in the Rocky Mountain region, thus launching the modern-day shale revolution.269 By 2020, fracking enabled U.S. producers to significantly expand domestic oil and natural gas production—the nation’s oil production increased from approximately 7 MMbpd in the early 1990s to more than 12 MMbpd, with domestic natural gas production nearly doubling to more than 1.1 Bm3y within the same timeframe.274,275 The proven success of fracking propelled the U.S. to the forefront of global oil and natural gas supplies and had dramatic impacts on the region’s hydrocarbon processing capacity.

Prior to the 2010s, the U.S. was a major importer of natural gas, with many investors eager to build large-scale LNG import terminals. However, that all changed post-2010. As U.S. natural gas production surged because of widescale fracking, the nation had an abundance of natural gas supplies. To monetize this commodity, public and private companies invested a significant amount of capital to build gas processing plants, natural gas pipeline infrastructure and grassroots LNG export terminals or convert existing LNG import facilities to export operations. By the early 2020s, operable U.S. LNG export capacity eclipsed 80 MMtpy, with additional liquefaction trains under development that will increase total U.S. LNG export capacity to more than 100 MMtpy by the mid-2020s. Within a decade, shale gas production had enabled the U.S. to reverse course from importing vast amounts of natural gas to being one of the largest natural gas exporters in the world.

Shale gas fracking also revitalized the country’s petrochemicals sector. Cheap, readily available shale gas feedstock (e.g., ethane) enabled the country to become one of the world’s lowest-cost ethylene producers—ethylene is the key building block for the petrochemical industry; it supports 70% of petrochemical industry production and is used to manufacture a wide variety of products for industrial and consumer markets. In turn, more than 11 MMtpy of ethylene production units began operations from 2016–2020, with an additional 5 MMtpy set to start production by the mid-2020s. This wave of investments in ethane cracking facilities spurred tens of billions of dollars in capital investments in ethylene derivatives and specialty chemicals production capacities, as well as ammonia, urea and methanol production plants. The increased production of chemicals and petrochemicals also had profound effects on the nation’s chemical trade, increasing chemical export revenues from $227 B in 2015 to more than $243 B by 2020.276

Digital transformation: Advancing the HPI into Industry 4.0

The HPI’s digital prowess has dramatically evolved since the first direct digital control computer was installed in a refinery—the Thompson Ramo Wooldridge 300 computer was incorporated at Texaco’s 1,600-bpd polymerization unit at the Port Arthur refinery (Texas, U.S.) in 1959 (the history of this event was chronicled in the History of the HPI section of the 1950s). This event marked the beginning of the computer-integrated manufacturing era for the HPI.

The 1950s also witnessed the beginning of computer-aided design (CAD) and the advent of research into artificial intelligence (AI). CAD was coined by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Douglas Ross, who was known as the father of automatically programmed tools, the language that drives numerical control in manufacturing.277 This technology would evolve and heavily influence advanced engineering and design software for hydrocarbon processing plants/complexes in the following decades, enabling plant design, engineering and construction companies to create advanced models and drawings.

FIG. 4. Several of the scientists that attended the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence in 1956. Photo provided by Margaret Minsky.<sup>279</sup>
FIG. 4. Several of the scientists that attended the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence in 1956. Photo provided by Margaret Minsky.279

The field of AI research began in 1956 with the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence held by John McCarthy in Hanover, New Hampshire (U.S.) (FIG. 4).278 The 2-mos brainstorming session included approximately 20 participants that discussed various topics such as neural networks, computers, computational theory and natural language processing, among other topics—several of these topics were influenced by theories and concepts put forth by English mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing within his paper “Computing machinery and intelligence;”280 his creation of the Turing machine demonstrated the concepts of algorithms and computation, which is why he is considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and AI.281,282 Over the next 20 yr, research into AI flourished, with heavy funding being poured into the technology by entities such as the British and U.S. governments. However, research slowed in the late 1970s and funding ran dry—this period was known as the “AI winter.”282

In the 1960s, the invention of the programmable logic controller (PLC) by Bedford Associates (the company became part of Schneider Electric in the 1990s) meant that large banks of relays could be replaced by a single device (a history of the PLC is detailed in the History of the HPI section of the 1960s). PLCs were incorporated into plant operations in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

During the late 1960s, French engineer Pierre Bézier created the first 3D CAD/computer-aided manufacturing program while working at the French automobile maker Renault. His invention, the UNISURF CAD system, enabled the design of vehicles to move from drawing boards to CAD.283 This technology would evolve over time and create different approaches to 3D: surface modeling and object modeling.284 During this timeframe, computer-generated environments that responded to the user started to take shape. Myron Krueger coined this type of technology system “artificial reality.”

In the 1970s, the creation of the distributed control system by Yokogawa (Japan) and Honeywell (U.S.) revolutionized refinery and petrochemical plant operations. This technology moved process controls from board operations (i.e., large instrument panels that housed controllers) to a computerized control system, enabling full automation of plant operation.

Process automation continued to evolve over the next several decades, including the development of fieldbus, ethernet-based networks, virtual reality (VR), wireless systems and protocols, increased cyber defenses, remote transmission and many other advances to optimize plant operations (e.g., the invention of the internet enabled companies to take advantage of cloud computing).

The advances in computing technology, AI, VR, augmented reality (AR) and other dynamic digital technologies culminated in the age of digital transformation of the 2010s—referred to as Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This era is revolutionizing the way companies do business by using digital technologies to build and run more efficient and smarter operations and supply/value chains. Within the processing industries, the age of digital transformation has provided refiners and petrochemical producers with new digital technologies—the Internet of Things (IoT), digital twins, cloud computing, smart sensors and networks, AI/VR/AR, predictive/advanced analytics, drones, blockchain and other devices and hardware/software (FIG. 5)—to enhance production, automation, supply chains, maintenance, training, safety and profitability.

FIG. 5. New AR/VR technologies can combine IIoT data and AI-infused analytics to enable users to interact with digital twins of their facilities. Photo courtesy of AVEVA.
FIG. 5. New AR/VR technologies can combine IIoT data and AI-infused analytics to enable users to interact with digital twins of their facilities. Photo courtesy of AVEVA.

Inspiring future pioneers

This series has detailed the major events, people and technological advancements in the global refining and petrochemical industries over the past 170 yr. From the discovery of kerosene as a lamp burning fuel in the mid-1800s to the complex processes used today to produce transportation fuels, thermoplastics, fertilizers and many other products used by billions of people daily, this robust analysis has chronicled the evolution of the global HPI.

This anthology has highlighted the origins of refining; the genesis of synthetic plastics and oils; the creation of the internal combustion engine and jet engine, thermal and catalytic cracking, different types of polyethylene and resins, new catalysts technologies (e.g., Ziegler-Natta) and rocket fuel; how war necessitated advancing technologies such as 100-octane aviation gasoline, synthetic rubber and silicones; the era of computer-integrated manufacturing; the creation and advancement of the distributed control system, the PLC, fieldbus and ethernet; multiple oil crises; a significant increase in clean fuels, emissions reduction and safety regulations globally; liquid crystals and conducting polymers; digital transformation; and new tools, processes and technologies to optimize maintenance, plant design/engineering and construction, training, management and operations.

This series has been a testament to the ingenuity of people from around the world that have contributed to the evolution of societies through discovery and creation. These advancements have increased the standard of living for billions of people around the world for more than a century. Unless we tell their stories and discoveries, most will be lost in history. Instead, these stories and accomplishments should be celebrated in hopes of inspiring new generations of innovators, risk-takers, creators and developers to be pioneers for new technologies, processes and inventions to the betterment of humanity.


250  International Council of Chemical Associations, “Responsible Care Global Charter,” 2014, online:

251  Wikipedia, “Responsible Care,” online:

252  European Chemicals Agency, “Understanding REACH,” online:

253  Wikipedia, “Registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals,” online:,_Evaluation,_Authorisation_and_Restriction_of_Chemicals

254  ECHA, “REACH registration statistics,” June 30, 2022, online:

255  UN, “What is the Kyoto Protocol?” online:

256  Wikipedia, “Kyoto Protocol,” online:

257  UN, “What is the Paris Agreement,” online:

258  Wikipedia, “Renewable Energy Directive (EU),” online:

259  European Commission, “Renewable energy directive,” online:

260  European Commission, “A European Green Deal: Striving to be the first climate-neutral continent,” online:

261  Harvey, F. and J. Rankin, “What is the European Green Deal and will it really cost €1 T?” The Guardian, March 9, 2020, online:

262  Abnett, K., “EU countries reach deal on climate laws after late-night talks,” Reuters, June 29, 2022, online:

263  Buchholz, K., “Asia’s consumer class is growing. This chart shows how,” World Economic Forum, October 22, 2021, online:,consumer%20class%20live%20in%20Asia.

264  Fengler, W., H. Kharas and J. Caballero, “Asia’s tipping point in the consumer class,” Brookings, June 2, 2022, online:

265  Hargreaves, S., “What’s behind the gas price hike?” CNN Money, February 29, 2012, online:

266  Ratcliffe, V., J. Lee and J. Blas, “Why the Strait of Hormuz is a global oil flashpoint,” Bloomberg, January 10, 2021, online:

267  Nichols, L., “Petrochemicals 2025: Three regions to dominate the surge in petrochemical capacity growth,” Hydrocarbon Processing, March 2019.

268  Hicks, B., “See an exploding torpedo dropped in an oil well: The most important patent in American history,”, March 27, 2012, online:

269  Morton, M. Q., “Unlocking the Earth—A short history of hydraulic fracturing,” GEOExPro, 2013, online:

270  Wikipedia, “Torpedo (petroleum),” online:

271  Aresco, “When was fracking first used?” May 15, 2021, online:

272  Roberts, E., “Improvement in method of increasing capacity of oil wells,” U.S. Patent 59,936, November 20, 1866, online:

273  Manfreda, J., “The origin of fracking actually dates back to the Civil War,” Business Insider, April 14, 2015, online:

274  U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “U.S. field production of crude oil, 1859–2021,” online:

275  U.S. EIA, “Natural gas gross withdrawals and production, 1936–2021,” online:

276  U.S. International Trade Commission, “Chemicals and related products, 2015–2019,” online:

277  Wikipedia, “Douglas T. Ross,” online:

278  Wikipedia, “Dartmouth workshop,” online:

279  Veisdal, J., “The birthplace of AI: The Dartmouth Workshop,” Cantor’s Paradise, September 12, 2019, online:

280  Smith, C., et al., “The history of artificial intelligence,” University of Washington, December 2006, online:

281  Wikipedia, “Alan Turing,” online:

282  Wikipedia, “Artificial intelligence,” online:

283  Staff writer, “The history—and future—of CAD/CAM technology,” Thomas Insights, November 6, 2019, online:

284  Wheeldon, D., “Impact of advanced engineering and design software on the HPI,” Hydrocarbon Processing, July 2012.

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