Survey finds Richmond Refinery safety culture strong

Survey finds Richmond Refinery safety culture strong

A statement from Chevron U.S.A. Inc.:

We at Chevron U.S.A. Inc. share the Chemical Safety Board’s goal of ensuring that the industry learns something whenever there is an incident. We will carefully consider the recommendations directed to Chevron in the CSB’s final report on the August 2012 incident.

Chevron’s own investigation identified 15 recommended actions to address incident root causes and contributing factors. Chevron subsequently developed 86 action items to respond to these recommendations. Of those, 79 are complete and seven remain in process. One of the completed action items involved the inspection of over 140 piping circuits, representing some 12,000 individual piping components.

We agree with a number of significant findings made by the CSB that are detailed in a letter to the CSB, which is publicly available here.

However, Chevron believes the CSB has presented an inaccurate depiction of the Richmond Refinery’s current process safety culture. The refinery continues to move forward on a wide range of actions in response to the August 2012 incident. These will only build on our prior efforts aimed at a stronger, more transparent safety culture throughout our refinery network.

For example, as part of our continual improvement process, Chevron has conducted surveys, audits, and other feedback mechanisms which have repeatedly shown that employees and contractors feel supported in their use of Stop Work Authority and give Chevron credit for developing a strong safety culture.

In a third-party survey commissioned by Contra Costa County, when asked whether they feel free to use Stop Work Authority during any work activity, 93 percent of Chevron refinery workers responded favorably. The overall results for the process safety survey exceeded the survey taker’s benchmark for North American refineries.

Thomas Schubert, a shift team leader at the refinery, told the Richmond City Council at a public hearing last summer: “I feel that Chevron is a world-class leader in safety. Not only do I work at Chevron but my son works at Chevron as well,” he said. “I know that I can use my Stop Work Authority any time I think there is something not safe there, and I have the full support of my upper management to do so.”

Whatever disagreements we may have with particular findings in the final CSB report, there should be no doubt about our commitment to work cooperatively with the CSB and other oversight agencies on the shared goal of effective and efficient regulation designed to enhance the safety and reliability of refinery operations across the entire industry.

The 164-acre Breuner Marsh – a coastal area just south of Point Pinole Regional Shoreline that is being restored to wetlands – just got some new residents.

Chevron Speaks: Preserving and restoring natural ecosystems at Richmond Refinery

This Chevron Speaks item was authored by Pascha McAlister, Environmental Specialist at Chevron Richmond:

Many of our neighbors might be surprised to know that the Richmond Refinery is home to many different species, including hundreds of species of birds and acres of protected wetlands.

The Richmond Water Enhancement Experimental Wetland, which is on 90 acres of former effluent treatment ponds, serves as a resting spot for migratory waterfowl. Deep channels and dense areas of reeds and duck mounds create an attractive environment for waterfowl. During the spring and fall, a variety of shorebirds seek refuge in the marsh. Presently there are 103 different species of birds that use this new habitat. In addition, just northeast of the refinery we helped restore 250 acres of Wildcat Creek Marsh, including forming slough channels to the saltwater marsh. The wetlands and other underdeveloped areas of the refinery now provide a critical habitat for two endangered species – the Salt Harvest Mouse and the California Clapper Rail.

We’ve also recently partnered with the International Bird Rescue, East Bay Regional Park District, and the Richmond Police Activities League to release eight black-crowned night herons and snowy egrets into Breuner Marsh, which is undergoing restoration. We also work hard to protect nearby osprey, a common raptor species that is protected federally and can be found throughout the Bay Area. The refinery works to ensure our osprey neighbors do not build nests at undesirable locations for their protection.

We are proud of these efforts, which are an integral part of our commitment to protecting and preserving the environment.

Chevron to allow public agency to oversee probe into flaring to ensure transparency

Richmond refinery update: ‘No health impact’ from flaring activity

Updated statement from Chevron Richmond, published 3:50 p.m. Thursday:

We understand that the community has questions about the flaring activity which happened last night. We also recognize that the sight of flames coming from the flares caused alarm among our neighbors. While our operations team responded immediately to the situation, in an effort to ensure the community had more complete information we were more deliberate in our use of social media to communicate with our neighbors. We want to assure you that the use of flares, including last night’s activity, is an important part of keeping the refinery running safely. We also responded to inquiries from local media outlets to help ensure information was made available to the public.

Last night, during the course of our operations it became necessary to depressure a unit within the refinery, which created a very visible flare. In flaring conditions, it is normal practice to release quantities of water vapor (steam). This sometimes can take on the appearance of smoke. The unit was safely depressurized and successfully shut down. The refinery is now operating normally and will continue to supply the market with products.

We are working cooperatively with officials from the Contra Costa County, and we will be submitting a report to the County later today.

There has been no health impact to the community. The fence line and community air monitoring stations reported all the levels were below state and federal health limits. A full report from the air monitoring stations will be made available at


Original statement from Chevron Richmond posted Thursday morning, 8:30 a.m.:

There has been visible flaring from the Richmond refinery this evening. We understand that the community has been concerned about the flaring activity.

We had a process unit that needed to be depressurized, creating a visible flare. The flare is part of a safety system which enables us to safely shut down a unit. We are in the process of shutting down this unit now.
In flaring conditions, it is normal practice to release quantities of water vapor (steam) to assist with the flare quality. This can take on the appearance of smoke.
The flaring has now stopped. There may be intermittent flaring this evening as we continue to safely bring down the unit.

There has been no impact to the community.


Why the election mattered

A statement from Chevron Richmond:

For more than 112 years, the Richmond Refinery has been proud to serve as a vital part of Richmond –creating jobs for residents, supporting small businesses that drive the local economy, paying taxes that fund essential public services and supporting programs that train workers and prepare students for the future.

The policies enacted at the local level help determine how businesses, big and small, can be successful. The question for Richmond is: Will local leaders recognize that business is integral to the city’s success? Or, will city leaders continue to oppose efforts to create growth, preferring instead to watch the business climate – and the prosperity that business helps generate – decline.

Our position is that the city needs the former. We are willing to invest in the future of the city with our $1 billion modernization project, which would create a newer, safer, cleaner refinery that is better for Richmond and its citizens. The Richmond Refinery already provides jobs for 2,200 people and supports scores of local suppliers who depend on our business and modernization will create more opportunities.

Chevron has been fully transparent regarding our participation in this election. We provided funding through Moving Forward, an independent expenditure campaign committee that includes local labor unions, businesses and public safety organizations. This money was used to fund direct communication with voters so they could make informed decisions about which candidates are best able to lead Richmond.

The amount of money we spent to inform voters must be viewed in the context of the more than $500 million in local taxes, social investment and spending on local vendors from Chevron over the past five years, and our $90 million social and environmental commitment to the city that will follow once our $1 billion refinery modernization is allowed to proceed.

As the city’s largest employer and with such a large investment in this city, Chevron chose to participate in the election to make sure its voice was heard, and to provide the resources to help inform voters.

Chevron respects and acknowledges the outcome of the election. Going forward, our intention is to work with the new City Council to find common ground and to continue advocating for sound policies that allow Richmond to grow and thrive.

This city, which we have proudly called home for so long, has far more opportunities than challenges. We hope the council will focus on realizing those opportunities. Chevron will continue to partner with those in the city who want to turn those opportunities into reality and thereby improve the lives of all residents of Richmond.

Chevron will begin accepting applications for Refinery Maintenance Trainees positions at the Richmond Refinery.

Chevron Richmond is hiring for Refinery Maintenance Trainees positions

Beginning Friday, Chevron will begin accepting applications for Refinery Maintenance Trainees positions at the Richmond Refinery. We want to make you aware of this information before it is formally advertised.

Individuals interested in applying should visit to create a profile and apply for the position. To locate the Refinery Maintenance Trainee position, select “jobs in the United States” and search by requisition number 006136495.

Please feel free to share the information about this job opportunity with Richmond residents and others. Note: resumes will be accepted electronically via our website, beginning Friday May 9, 2014 and must be received no later than Friday, May 23, 2014. Those who do not have Internet access at home will need to use community resources, such as the Richmond Public Library to submit an application.

Chevron Richmond supports the economic development of Richmond, helping to build a stronger community. We have committed to increase our local hiring in Richmond by 50% over the next 5 years. We are working with local labor unions and contractors to highlight the benefits of hiring locally. We are also strengthening the training-to-jobs pipeline by working with local nonprofit training organizations to help local residents qualify for jobs, not only at Chevron, but at other local businesses as well.


The Refinery is committed to hiring top caliber applicants for this position.  Applicants must have a High School Diploma or Equivalent and must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Valid Driver’s License.
  • Must obtain a TWIC Card within 6 months of employment
Environmental group's settlement with air district over Chevron modernization doesn't clear path for construction.

Major inaccuracies in KPIX 5 story on Chevron Richmond modernization project

This Chevron Speaks submission was written by officials with Chevron Richmond and published in the Richmond Standard by editor Mike Aldax.

A story recently aired by KPIX 5 San Francisco painted an inaccurate picture of Chevron Richmond’s modernization project.

The story used misleading and inflammatory language to portray the project as potentially harmful and unnecessary. In fact, the $1 billion investment will replace some of the refinery’s oldest processing equipment with modern technology that is inherently safe and meets the nation’s toughest air quality standards.

Contrary to the aired report, the project will not double sulfur emissions. Sulfur emissions will actually decrease as a result of modernization as the refinery adds equipment that allows it to safely and more efficiently remove sulfur content from crude oil while controlling emissions. Modernization will provide the refinery the flexibility to refine crude oil blends and gas oils with higher sulfur content.

Crude oil is defined by its density – heavy, intermediate or light – and by its sulfur content – sweet or sour. Characterizing the project as a means to accept “dirtier” crude is inaccurate and deceptive.

Chevron Richmond has historically processed some of the lightest crudes on the West Coast and will continue to do so after the project. Modernization is not about refining Canadian tar sands or heavy crude and the project will not allow the refinery to bring in crude by rail or pipeline.

Chevron Richmond has committed to no net increase in criteria air pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions and health risks from the project. In fact, many of the emissions that are of concern to the community will decrease.  In addition, the refinery will invest $30 million over the next decade to lower greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs in Richmond and North Richmond.

The environmental impact report (EIR) written by the city and now under public review is a detailed and thorough analysis of the Modernization Project.  The city of Richmond is accepting comments on the EIR through May 2. Details on how to make your voice heard are available at

Environmental group's settlement with air district over Chevron modernization doesn't clear path for construction.

Newer, safer, cleaner – and other common sense reasons for refinery modernization

This Chevron Speaks submission was written by officials with Chevron Richmond and published in the Richmond Standard by editor Mike Aldax.

The release of the environmental impact report (EIR) on the Chevron Richmond Refinery Modernization Project marks an important milestone in our efforts to create a newer, safer, cleaner refinery.

The comprehensive and thorough report, which was prepared by the City of Richmond and a team of expert consultants, details exactly what the project is and what it isn’t. We encourage everyone to review the EIR on the City’s project page at Good places to start are Chapter 2 (Summary) and Chapter 3 (Project Description).

The EIR also reinforces what Chevron has been saying all along – that modernization is a common sense project that will protect the environment, enhance safety and create jobs. It also confirms that modernization isn’t about processing dirty crude or Canadian tar sands. It won’t allow us to start to bring in crude oil by rail. And there is no cost to the City of Richmond or local taxpayers.

At its core, modernization is about replacing some of the refinery’s oldest processing equipment with newer technologies that are inherently safer and help meet the nation’s toughest air quality standards.

It replaces the existing 1960s hydrogen plant with a modern plant that is 20 percent more energy efficient. It also gives us more flexibility to process crude oil blends and gas oils containing higher levels of sulfur while meeting safety and environmental standards.

Piping circuits will be replaced with new, upgraded piping circuits that have greater resistance to corrosion. Safety inspections will be enhanced and significant regulatory oversight added to ensure the refinery meets all government-approved safety standards.

The project will reduce emissions overall with its commitment to no net increase.  And over the next 10 years, Chevron has committed to investing $30 million to lower community related greenhouse gas emissions and create local green jobs right here in Richmond.

Meanwhile, the billion dollar investment will create 1,000 union construction jobs and 1,300 indirect jobs added in the community along with $220 million in local spending during construction.  We’ve also signed an agreement with the City and the Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades to increase job opportunities for Richmond residents.

It’s clear that modernization is important to the city and the future of the refinery – so important, in fact, Chevron has hired a number of Richmond residents to go door-to-door and answer questions about the project. It’s part of Chevron’s commitment to be fully transparent during the review process and ensure that residents have a clear understanding of what the project means for the city.

Residents will find the EIR to be straightforward and detailed, and the 45-day comment period allows for extensive analysis and review. The public will have multiple opportunities to ask questions, find out more details and share opinions. A full list of public meetings is available here.

We are confident that residents who take the time to review the EIR will see how modernization benefits the entire Richmond community. To learn more and express your support for refinery modernization visit

Survey finds Richmond Refinery safety culture strong

Chevron Speaks: Article on refinery projects misleading

modernizationmapAn article published in the East Bay Express on February 5 contained incorrect and misleading information about Chevron USA’s Richmond Refinery Modernization Project.

(Click to expand image on the left)

Despite what the article suggests, there is no connection between the Modernization Project and any other Bay Area refinery project. The Modernization Project is not about processing heavy crude or unconventional Canadian tar sands.

Also, the Modernization Project will not enable the Richmond Refinery to receive crude oil via rail car or pipeline. The environmental impact report for the WesPac project in Pittsburg does not include the Richmond Refinery in its list of facilities that will receive crude from the facility.   The Richmond Refinery will continue, as it does today, to receive all its crude oil via ship.

The Modernization Project will create a newer, safer, cleaner refinery that is better for the community. The project will reduce air pollution overall, add energy efficiency, and increase safety—all while creating 1,000 construction jobs and pumping millions of dollars into the local economy.

Click here to get the Modernization Project facts.


Richmond deserves more news coverage

For the first time in more than 30 years, Richmond will have a community-driven daily news source dedicated to shining a light on the positive things that are going on in the community. We believe Richmond residents want and deserve more local coverage of the stories that make our unique community a special place.  We have retained a veteran Bay Area reporter with a solid reputation, Mike Aldax, to ensure stories are covered factually, fairly and objectively.

We are constantly looking for ways to engage people in Richmond on issues that are important to the community. We regularly communicate through our corporate website, a monthly newsletter, email blasts and advertise on billboards and in local newspapers. We think it’s good for us to have a conversation with Richmond on important issues, and we also think there are a lot of good stories in this city that don’t get told every day.

The Richmond Standard will cover what community papers are known to cover: breaking news, City Hall, entertainment, food and youth and high school sports. We believe our city’s most exciting athletes, artists and entrepreneurs deserve recognition. We won’t attempt to compete with other news organizations. We want the Richmond Standard to cover stories that other publications don’t have the time or resources to get to.

Community members and groups are encouraged to participate in the Richmond Standard’s coverage by sending information or photos of newsworthy people, places and events to Our views will be shared only in a special section on the website called Chevron Speaks.

While the Richmond Standard isn’t the first community-driven journalism site that doesn’t rely on advertising revenue, it is among the first to receive seed funding from a major corporation. We believe the website has the potential to blaze the trail for a new model of corporate-sponsored, community-generated news.

There’s not always a lot of shared understanding about what goes on in our community. We believe it’s time for people to come together and help make our great community an even better place to live and work. And that starts with providing Richmond will a daily resource dedicated to covering the stories that make this community a special place.

*Chevron and Chevron Richmond are shorthand for Chevron U.S.A. Inc.’s Richmond Refinery and its other divisions located in Richmond.