Refineries (synonyms: refiner, clarifier; example toponyms: Refinery 5, the Cold Harbor Oil Refinery) are production facilities built to transform a raw product (crude oil, natural gas, raw sugar, etc.), into a final, usable form (gasoline/petrol, propane, refined sugar, etc.). Refineries are industrial locations that often contain an interconnected network of pipes, holding chambers, valves, catwalks, and other industrial elements. There may be maintenance tunnels that connect various locations within the compound. They are often used in post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk, or science fiction worlds. They may be found in off-world mining colonies or in the industrial districts of cyberpunk megacities.
Refineries can also be found in high fantasy worlds, though they are often reskinned to fit the genre.
Designing Fictional Refineries
When designing refineries, consider the impact one may have on the local community. Refineries may both have negative effects on the local environment while providing much-needed jobs to a local population. Economically, refinery owners may be wealthy individuals while relying on a relatively poor workforce. These tensions created by a refinery may be exploited by a worldbuilder to add to a narrative or drive historical events.
During wartime, refineries may be a strategic target, especially if they manufacture a resource critical to the war effort. There may be raids on the compound as well as defenses present.
Refineries offer worldbuilders a chance to explore fictional corporations. Consider who owns this place.
If your world contains a fantastic material, consider if it needs to be refined.