by Rod Spackman
Yesterday, you may have seen one of the six large steel drums that make up the core elements of our Coker Unit being transported along Pacific Coast Highway, from King Harbor in Redondo Beach.
Over the past year, we have been working with our neighbor cities to plan this activity, which is important to help ensure the continued operation of the refinery. Our old drums date back to 1968 and are reaching the end of their life cycle. Much like the transport of the space shuttle, this project has required a high degree of engineering and logistics. We are truly grateful for the many partnerships among government, businesses and residents that have played a role in supporting the move.
The Chevron El Segundo Refinery supplies more than 20 percent of the motor vehicle fuel used in Southern California and 40 percent of the jet fuel used at LAX. We can also generate approximately 130 megawatts of electricity, enough for a city of 225,000 people.
But our role in meeting the energy needs of the region goes beyond just supplying petroleum products. We also support education, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Inspiring students will help our region and state remain competitive and also help equip our next generation workforce. Chevron invests more than $10 million annually in STEM curriculum in California. Over the past several years we have provided over $1 million annually to South Bay schools to fund computer labs, robotics programs and engineering courses.
If you have visited the refinery during one of our annual community tour days, you know it is approximately 1,000 acres and includes more than 26 miles of paved roads, 10 miles of railroad tracks and more than 1,100 miles of pipelines.
Chevron’s roots in California go back 130 years to the first major discovery of oil near Los Angeles in Pico Canyon. In the early years, our primary product was kerosene. Chevron El Segundo celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010. It was the second Standard Oil refinery on the west coast. El Segundo, “the second,” was named after the refinery.
Chevron is the only integrated energy company headquartered in California. We employ more than 10,000 people in our home state and indirectly support an additional 60,000 jobs. That is one in every 200 California jobs!
Chevron is the world’s largest producer of geothermal energy, and our natural gas investments span six continents. We are a mayor buyer and blender of first generation biofuels, and are actively engaging in advanced biofuels research. Chevron is also the largest developer of solar projects in California, and in the United States public sector. Through our work with renewables and energy efficiency, we have saved customers over $1 billion in energy costs and have offset carbon emissions by over three million metric tons. Chevron has also developed the largest solar enhanced oil recovery project in the world. As a company, Chevron has improved its overall energy efficiency by 33 percent since 1992.
The El Segundo Refinery has many significant projects under way to even further enhance our efficiency and sustainability. One is our refinery’s fourth Cogeneration Unit, which will produce an additional 45 megawatts of power. Once completed, the refinery will produce enough electricity to satisfy all of its electrical needs and on most occasions be able to supply power to the grid.
We also place tremendous emphasis on the refinery’s recovery and recycling efforts. Our waste diversion rate is nearly 90 percent today. The State of California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has recognized our dedication to waste diversion by presenting the Chevron El Segundo Refinery their Waste Reduction Award Program (WRAP) award a total of 16 times since 1994.
Highlighting another area of our environmental stewardship is the facility’s use of reclaimed water. The El Segundo Refinery is the largest commercial user of recycled and reclaimed water in the State of California. More than 75 percent of the water used in our refinery processes and landscaping is recycled or reclaimed, even though it costs substantially more than fresh water.
We just completed building our new Refinery Optimization Center (ROC), enabling us to control the majority of our major processing units from one location. ROC resembles a NASA control center, employing dozens of flat screens displaying for digital monitoring and controls.
We take great pride in the rich legacy that Chevron and our surrounding cities, schools and organizations have developed. We strive to conduct our business with the highest standards and we clearly understand our obligation to operate safely and responsibly. As the Chevron El Segundo Refinery celebrates its past we are also building and investing to fuel Southern California’s energy needs well into the future.
Rod Spackman is the manager of Policy, Government and Public Affairs at Chevron El Segundo. ER