The use of crude oil as a carbon feedstock for the manufacture of chemicals has dominated the industry with few exceptions, for example a small percentage of naturally-derived compounds (e.g. for use in personal care products and pharmaceuticals).  In this video Dr Tom Farmer at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York outlines where our dependence on crude oil derives from.
In this video Dr Tom Farmer at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York explores how crude oil is processed to the chemical commodities we use today from enormous quantities of a small number of simple molecules (base chemicals). He also discusses the volumes of these base chemicals that are required annually which demonstrates the full nature of the challenge of replacing petroleum derived feedstocks with renewably derived feedstocks.