2015 Project of the Year Winner: Chevron Gets Ready to Refuel

Tegan Jones is an editor for PM Network, PMI's monthly publication.

Rivers of cars crawl through the city of Los Angeles, California, USA. With more than 18 million people in the greater metro area, the city has the most congested streets in the United States.

But area residents won't let a little gridlock slow them down. All they need is a full tank of gas—or a flight out of town for a break from the traffic.

That's where Chevron's El Segundo refinery comes in. The largest refinery on the West Coast, El Segundo provides 20 percent of the gasoline used in the L.A. area, plus 40 percent of the jet fuel to Los Angeles International Airport, the world's sixth-busiest airport.

“We're one of the biggest suppliers in this area, so it's very important for us to meet our commitments to all of our customers,” says R.J. Cardello, El Segundo refinery major capital projects manager, Chevron, El Segundo, California, USA.

But in 2009, aging of the refinery's coke drums began jeopardizing Chevron's ability to meet the region's fuel demands. Some of the industry's oldest, the drums, which heat crude oil up to 920 degrees Fahrenheit (493 Celsius), had been in use since 1968. Cracks were upending the refinery's operations, and the organization knew it was time to go beyond stopgap repairs. The drums were “very unreliable, and they were impacting refinery economics,” says Greg …

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