BP’s Cherry Point Refinery is using innovative technology to produce cleaner fuels and operate more efficiently.
In 2018, it launched a renewable diesel unit that can co- process biomass-based feedstock alongside conventional feedstocks to produce ultra-low-sulfur diesel.
This investment will reduce the carbon footprint of Cherry Point’s diesel while supporting compliance with federal and state programs that require blending of renewable fuel.
The renewable diesel project reflects Cherry Point’s broader commitment to provide the energy people need while doing its part to promote a lower-carbon economy.
Located in Blaine, Washington, the refinery helps fuel cars, trucks and airplanes throughout the Pacific Northwest, and it also plays a significant role in the global aluminum industry.
When the facility first opened in 1971, it primarily refined crude oil brought by tanker ships from the North Slope of Alaska. Since then, Cherry Point has diversified its capabilities, and today it accepts and refines crude oil from around the world.
It can process up to 236,000 barrels each day, roughly 90 percent of which emerges as transportation fuel. For example, Cherry Point is the largest supplier of jet fuel to Seattle, Portland and Vancouver (B.C.) international airports.
The remaining 10 percent of its crude oil typically gets converted into anode-grade calcined coke, which the refinery sells to aluminum smelters worldwide.
Over the past decade, BP has invested more than $1.5 billion in capital improvements at the refinery. Its proximity to rail, shipping and pipeline infrastructure helps it move products swiftly to market.
Like all BP businesses, Cherry Point makes safety its highest priority.
In 2018, it marked an historic milestone, when its employees and contractors — representing more than 80 local companies — surpassed 25 million hours and more than five years worked without a single day away from work case.
“Safety is our first priority — on every job, every day,” says Refinery Manager Bob Allendorfer. “Our values determine how we work, and no value is more important than safety.
We want all our people to go home at the end of their shift in the same shape they came to work.”
Surrounded by forest, wetland, stream, pond and shoreline habitats, the refinery devotes considerable resources to help preserve its natural environment.
Employee initiatives include monitoring a colony of great blue herons, documenting amphibians in protected wetlands and conducting an inventory of native wild species.
Cherry Point also partners with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association to restore salmon habitat and teach water science to local schoolchildren, and it helped underwrite the BP Heron Center for Environmental Education at Birch Bay State Park.
In addition to its environmental work, the refinery supports a diverse mix of community groups, with employees serving as board members of organizations such as the United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County, the YMCA and the American Red Cross.
It also invests in the next generation of energy and technology workers by supporting local schools and education initiatives, ranging from Bellingham Technical College to the Blaine High School Technology Student Association.
“Cherry Point is powered by our people, and we share a deep commitment to the communities in which we operate,” says Allendorfer. “We value being a good neighbor, as we have for nearly 50 years.”