Galveston County is home to a vast network of above-ground and underground pipelines, including pipes carrying propylene.

Propylene, or propene, is a colorless gas with an odor containing hints of petroleum scents. It exists as an organic compound born as a byproduct of oil refining and natural gas processing. During the oil refining process, ethylene and propene, along with other compounds, are produced during the cracking of hydrocarbons.

Much of the propene produced is as an offshoot of ethylene production during naphtha cracking. The propene is separated from other resulting compounds using fractional distillation resulting in a refinery-grade of 50 to 70 percent. Current trends in the market have reduced the supply of propene due in part to a shift in lighter steam cracker feedstock usage. Today though, propene still remains the second most important starting product within the petrochemical industry behind ethylene.

Uses

  • Raw Materials
    • Used in the production of plastic polypropylene which is used in films, fibers containers, packaging, caps, and closures.
  • Chemicals
    • Used in production of acrylonitrile, acrylic acid, butyraldehyde, and cumene.
    • Used to produce acrylonitrile, epichlorohydrin, isopropanol, and propylene oxide.
  • Industrial Settings
    • Can be used as an alternative fuel source to acetylene in ox-fuel welding and cutting, as well as brazing and heating of metal.