the refining process

Aerial view of the Richmond Refinery.

Refineries play an important role in keeping the world on the move. Oil refineries take crude oil and refine it into products that we use every day. 

The Richmond Refinery takes crude oil and other feedstocks and refines it into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, fuel oil and lubricating base oils. On a daily basis, the Richmond Refinery processes about 250,000 barrels of crude oil. All of the crude oil we process arrives at our refinery via ship and is unloaded at our Richmond Long Wharf.  

Refining crude oil into transportation fuels and other products is a complex process involving many steps. The key steps include:

  • Separation: Crude oil is separated into different parts based on the size of the molecules.
  • Treatment: Using hydrogen and catalyst, natural impurities are removed from crude oil to meet California’s emissions standards, which are the toughest in the nation.
  • Cracking: Large molecules of crude oil are broken into smaller molecules that make up different transportation fuels.
 
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