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Factbox: Chevron's Richmond refinery: WWI veteran with Saudi thirst
(Reuters) - Chevron Corp's Richmond, California refinery, struck by a major fire late on Monday that roiled local gasoline markets, is a 110-year-old West Coast stalwart that provided fuel through two world wars and has been overhauled repeatedly to keep pace with changing U.S. crude flows.
Overlooking the San Pablo Bay near San Francisco, the 245,000-barrels-per-day plant is a major supplier of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel to California, meeting the state's strict environmental fuel specifications.
Built at the turn of the 20th century to capitalize on the southern California crude boom, the plant now subsists almost exclusively on crude from Saudi Arabia.
Following are key facts about the plant:
* Saudi Arabia is by far the largest supplier of crude to the refinery, accounting for 175,000 bpd of the plant's needs in the first four months of 2012 and 140,000 bpd in 2011, import data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows. Other suppliers, including Ecuador, Kuwait, Russia and Iraq, supplied less than 7,000 bpd in total to the plant in each of those years. The data does not provide any information on the plant's use of domestic crude.
WEST COAST GIANT
* With a capacity of 245,000 barrels per calendar day, the EIA lists Richmond as the second-biggest refinery on the West Coast, behind Chevron's 276,000-bpd El Segundo plant.
* Richmond has a 90,000-bpd gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracker, one of the three largest in California, according to the EIA.
RICHMOND REFINERY CAPACITY (in barrels per day) Atmospheric Crude Distillation* 245,271 Vacuum Distillation 123,446 Catalytic Cracking 90,000 Catalytic Hydrocracking (Gas Oil) 103,400 Catalytic Reforming (Low Pressure) 71,300 Fuels Solvent Deasphalting 66,000 Desulfurization
(incl. Catalytic Hydrotreating)
Naphtha/Reformer Feed 57,600
Kerosene/Jet Fuel 96,000
Heavy Gas Oil 65,000
Other 34,000 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration. * Barrels per calendar day.
* When the plant was completed in July 1902, it had a capacity of 10,000 bpd, making it the largest on the West Coast. Built by Pacific Coast Oil Co, the oldest predecessor of Chevron, it processed crude from southern California.
* Output surged to 65,000 bpd in 1914. The plant was reinforced in 1917 with searchlights and machineguns, while a torpedo boat patrolled the bay because the plant served as an important supplier of fuel during World War I.
* In 1943, the plant installed a $10 million toluene plant to make the key ingredient for TNT as part of the World War II effort.
* Standard Oil Co Of California (Socal) added a 40,000-bpd fluid catalytic cracking unit in 1959 to make high-octane gasoline needed for newer engines.
* The plant installed the world's largest Isomax hydrocracking complex in 1965, a 62,000-bpd unit to increase gasoline output and reduce production of less valuable heavy fuels.
* As new federal mandates came in place to reduce lead in gasoline in the 1970s, new reforming capacity was installed in the plant. New capacity was also installed to process higher-sulfur crudes. The plant built a new desulfurization unit in 1975 to produce more low-sulfur fuel oil to meet California's growing electrical utility needs.
* New processing units to produce higher-quality products were installed throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Capacity swelled to 225,000 bpd by 2006, making it the largest processor of crude oil in the Bay Area.
Source: Chevron website: richmond.chevron.com
(Reporting by Matthew Robinson in New York; Editing by Dale Hudson)
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