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Martinez refinery comes out of its Shell, gets new owner

By February 5, 2020 No Comments
It may look the same, but the refinery along Interstate 680 and the Carquinez Strait that once belonged to Shell oil company is now under new ownership and has a new moniker: Martinez Refining Co. LLC. (Photo by Naotake Murayama/Flickr)

After 105 years of Shell ownership, the refinery on the Carquinez Strait just west of Interstate 680 is now being rebranded as the Martinez Refining Co. LLC.

PBF Energy Inc., headquartered in New Jersey, began operating the facility under its new name Saturday as the $1 billion acquisition from Shell Oil Products became official. The deal was struck in mid-2019.

The Martinez refinery employs approximately 700 people. It produces gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, petroleum coke, industrial fuel oils, liquefied petroleum gas, asphalt and sulfur. It also has a “coker” unit for processing heavy crude.

Shell had discussed a sale of its Martinez property — its only California refinery — since at least 2016. Published reports that year said anticipated long-term crude oil prices and the relatively high costs of doing business in California, including adherence to state environmental regulations, were factors in Shell’s decision to sell.

PBF Energy also operates a refinery in Torrance, in Southern California, as well as in New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio and Louisiana.

Despite a handful of environmental incidents over the years — a spill of more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil into Carquinez Strait in 1988 the most notable — Shell has enjoyed a reputation of being a good corporate citizen in Martinez. Not all Bay Area refineries have had such a positive community connection.

“Our new owner has pledged to continue our strong commitment to you, our refinery, and our community,” refinery spokeswoman Ann Notarangelo said in a statement.