A party searching for a site to construct a refinery or a chemical plant needs to consider the following issues:
- The site has to be reasonably far from residential areas.
- Infrastructure should be available for supply of raw materials and shipment of products to markets.
- Energy to operate the plant should be available.
- Facilities should be available for waste disposal.
Refineries which use a large amount of steam and cooling water need to have an abundant source of water. Oil refineries therefore are often located nearby navigable rivers or on a sea shore, nearby a port. Such location also gives access to transportation by river or by sea. The advantages of transporting crude oil by pipeline are evident, and oil companies often transport a large volume of fuel to distribution terminals by pipeline. Pipeline may not be practical for products with small output, and rail cars, road tankers, and barges are used.
Petrochemical plants and solvent manufacturing (fine fractionating) plants need spaces for further processing of a large volume of refinery products for further processing, or to mix chemical additives with a product at source rather than at blending terminals.