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

Environmental group's settlement with air district over Chevron modernization doesn't clear path for construction.
The graphic shows two main components of the Chevron Richmond Refinery Modernization Project.

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