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Day 9 – Q 1.Discuss the factors that decide the location of oil refineries. Take suitable examples from different parts of the world.

1. Discuss the factors that decide the location of oil refineries. Take suitable examples from different parts of the world.

तेल रिफाइनरियों के स्थान का फैसला करने वाले कारकों पर चर्चा करें। दुनिया के विभिन्न हिस्सों से उपयुक्त उदाहरण लें।


Many important geographical factors involved in the location of individual industries are of relative significance, e.g., availability of raw materials, power resources, water, labour, markets and the transport facilities. But besides such purely geographical factors influencing industrial location, there are factors of historical, human, political and economic nature which are now tending to surpass the force of geographical advantages.

For Petroleum refineries, the raw material sources were less decisive factors for industrial location. Because industries were already setup in coalfields and did not move away due to industrial inertia.

Factors affecting location of oil refineries include:

  • Source site or Field-Based Refineries
  • Intermediate Locations
  • Near port locations
  • Market locations

  1. Field-Based Refineries:
  • Many oil refineries are located on the oil fields themselves. Where the oil fields occur in such countries as the U.S.A., the U.S.S.R. and European countries, refineries based on the fields have the added advantage of being near major markets.
  • For refineries based on fields in such countries the greatest advantage is the proximity of the crude oil. Transport costs are saved and refining can begin as soon as the oil is brought to the surface.
  • Examples of field based re­fineries include Temblador in Venezuela and the refineries in western China at Dushanzi (Tushantze) and Yumen.

Intermediate Locations:

  • In some cases coastal fields, though possessing many advantages of accessibility have certain handicaps. For instance, the coastal waters may be shallow, which is a great disad­vantage nowadays when most oil tankers are very large. Thus the oilfield, even though coastal, will not be an ideal location for refineries.
  • In Venezuela, for example, the waters of Lake Maracaibo are shallow and the entrance to the lake is both shallow and nar­row. This makes it difficult for tankers to reach the lakeside oil plants.
  • Another example of an intermediate location is Singapore. Although it possesses no oil itself, it is surrounded by countries which have oil. Several refineries have therefore been set up in Singa­pore to refine oil from Indonesia and Brunei and the petroleum products are then either used locally or re-exported.

Near the port locations:

  • Middle-east or West Asia is a large producer of crude oil but there is little domestic demand because region is not industrially developed. Therefore, many petrochemical complexes are located on the coast to facilitate export.
  • Coastal locations for European refineries are an advantage as they ease imports, and thus many major refineries serving Europe are clustered together at Rotterdam and Antwerp.
  • Oil is refined here and then distributed by pipeline to Dutch, Belgian or German industrial centres, or by tanker to Britain. In Britain too the main refineries are coastal, e.g. on the Thames, Mersey and Tees estuaries.

Market Locations:

  • The main oil-consuming areas are regions of dense population and highly so­phisticated industries such as those in the U.S.A., Western Europe and Japan. The establishment of a refinery in an urban and industrial region has several advantages, including the availability of techni­cians, skilled labour, constructional materials and commercial knowhow.
  • Re­fineries in market locations tend to be larger and to produce a wider range of oil products than the smaller, less sophisticated refineries in some oilfield loca­tions.

Best Answer: ASB

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