When the sun sets Friday night over the Texaco refinery on the west financial institution of the Arkansas River, some people in this fabled oil city might marvel if it should ever rise again.
That sunset will mark the top of a colorful chapter in Tulsa historical past. Working constantly since 1910, the West Tulsa refinery will stop operations permanently.
There are not any circumstances beneath which Texaco Inc. will ever reopen the plant, an organization spokesman in Chicago said as remaining layoffs strategy.
Solely fifty two workers stay on the job this week, the remnants of 380 staff who manned the plant when its fate was introduced final February.
The tanks, towers, bridgeworks and buildings sprawling over 466 acres of riverbank west of downtown Tulsa join a protracted list of inland America refineries being closed by market situations.
They have been doomed by a an overabundance of refining capacity, lowered demand for gasoline and lower fuel prices. Only those giant refineries near port cities, where tankers perpetually unload crude oil, or the extra trendy plants convenient to domestic provides appear destined to survive a new age of smaller gas-environment friendly vehicles.
Then identified because the Texas Co., Texaco bought land for the West Tulsa plant in 1906, intending it for use for a tank farm and pumping station. Discovery of the Glenpool Subject modified these plans.
Introduced in in 1905, the southwest Tulsa County and japanese Creek County field produced 15 million to 20 million barrels a yr between 1907 and 1914. Texas Co. turned its newly-acreage into its fourth refinery as an alternative. From the beginning, it produced house heating oil and kerosene, products early statehood Oklahoma demanded. As vehicles became common, the plant was modified to supply motor fuels.
Many adjustments were made via the years to accommodate the airplane and cars utilizing leaded gasoline. In 1949, tools was totally changed.
Once more, 10 years later, newer equipment was installed, and in 1972, the plant underwent a $30 million modernization in the expectation it would be working for many years to come back.
But dramatic modifications of the past a number of years, not visible when the plans had been forged, settled the plant’s fate, a Texaco spokesman said.
“Though it has been frequently upgraded to accommodate newer merchandise, it is simply not a trendy, efficient facility,” Texaco spokesman Paul Weeditz stated.
“If we had the demand of two years in the past, we may continue to operate West Tulsa. But with the trade’s overcapacity, we will supply any space extra economically.”
Working at capacity, which the plant hadn’t achieved for a couple of years, West Tulsa processed 50,000 barrels of crude oil day by day, the provides coming from Oklahoma, West Texas and New Mexico. The crude was refined into gasoline, distillate and aviation fuels.
The refinery has been up on the market earlier than Texaco introduced its mothballing final Feb. 10. Nonetheless no patrons. But there may be little demand for used refinery tools on at present’s market. Texaco is also closing its Casper, Wyo., refinery and shut down its Lockport, Ill., plant 18 months in the past.
Bartlesville-based mostly Phillips Petroleum padlocked its Kansas City, Kan., refinery last Sunday. In that shutdown, 206 workers accepted transfers elsewhere inside Phillips and some took early retirement.
Phillips is working to put others in jobs inside and out of doors the corporate. Spokesman Dave Dryden stated it isn’t identified but how many of the 730 staff finally will likely be “laid off.”
At the least one Oklahoma refinery has a stay of closure. The former OKC Corp. plant in Okmulgee, bought a year and a half in the past by the now-bankrupt Basin Refinery of Dallas, had been operated by CKB & Associates of Dallas till June 30, when about one hundred staff were laid off because CKB’s lease expired. The CKB lease was renewed July 1 for a yr, a Dallas legal professional for the OKC Liquidating Belief said.. The plant is predicted to reopen Sept. 1. Only a skeleton crew keeps it in working condition till then. The plant is considered one of Okmulgee’s largest employers.
The refinery produces jet aviation gasoline, gasoline and other merchandise.
At West Tulsa, the plant stop accepting crude oil final June 22. Some 75 workers took early retirement, 43 transferred elsewhere with Texaco, 32 left the corporate and 170 have been laid off. The final layoff whole is expected to be about 200.
After Friday, two Texaco workers will stay at the plant on a caretaker basis, together with a contract safety force.
Texaco won’t say how a lot it will cost for the refinery to take a seat abandoned on the Arkansas River. However the corporate will proceed paying an annual property tax invoice that got here to $339,734 final yr.
Ultimately, the tools may very well be cannibalized for different firm refineries or bought. Texaco says it is too early to speculate about its fate. The Lockhart, Sick., plant stays intact and remains to be for sale after 18 months. It appears likely West Tulsa will stay on industrial brokers’ rosters for a very long time.