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Industries producing writing paper mostly use grasses (esparto, alfa, sabai), bamboo, cotton waste and rag (cotton, linen and jute). In modern time, manufactured wood pulp is also used for writing paper. These raw materials are less bulky and contain a greater proportion of fibres. These are more or less pure and non-weight-losing raw materials. The industry is foot-loose so far as raw material is concerned. Water is ubiquitous and the lesser quantity of caustic soda and china clay can be collected at any centre. Yet, (probably) market has a greater attraction, because it serves a double purpose. Markets for paper are big urban areas with dense population, schools, colleges, universities, offices, etc.
Such population centres are also important sources of rags and waste papers. And therefore, paper mills have developed at convenient points in the market near metropolitan cities and population centres, provided there is easy access to power (coal or hydro-electricity), other raw materials and enough of clean water. Localization of board manufacturing with straw or seaweeds (in Japan) is also market-oriented. The paper mill industry is, therefore, widely distributed in many countries of the world. The USA, Canada, the European countries, Russia, China, Japan and India are important manufacturers of writing paper. Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Japan are chief exporters of paper. The U.S.A., Britain, France, Argentina and Australia are notable importers.
Crude oil is made up of various hydrocarbons. In the oil refinery crude oil is split into various groups or fractions of hydrocarbons, Lighter fractions yield petrol, kerosene and benzene. Heavier fractions give us lubricants and fuel oils. Residues include coke, asphalts and bitumen. Butane and propane gases are also produced during refining. Nearly eighty different chemical product may be obtain during the refining process. The proportion of different products may also be altered during refining. Natural gas is also used for the manufacture of Fertilizer, synthetic rubber, synthetic fibres, plastics and aromatics.
Distribution of petrochemical industry: Petrochemical industries are located near oil refineries so that they get raw materials from them by pipelines. Oil refineries located in the Middle East generally do not have large petrochemical industry as there is no market. Petrochemical industry may also be located in places where natural gas may be obtained by pipelines.
The United States is the leading producer of petrochemicals. The Gulf coast area in Texas produces 40% of basic petrochemicals produced in the United States. Alabama also has a number of petrochemical plants. The Volga region is the largest centre of petrochemical industry in Russia. Other centres are located near the oil refineries in other parts of Russia. Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom have a number of petrochemical plants, producing synthetic rubber, fibres and plastics. Japan has petrochemical plants in Tokyo region and in Hiroshima. India has petrochemical factories in Assam, Gujarat and Bombay associated with oil refineries.
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