Whiting Refinery

As part of a comprehensive effort to improve its efficiency,  BP’s Whiting Refinery has launched a waste heat recovery  project to generate steam from exhaust gas. This will reduce  the amount of steam Whiting generates from boilers, which  in turn will reduce both the amount of fuel it burns and the  associated greenhouse gas emissions. 

In 2017, the refinery replaced two steam-driven turbines  used to pump cooling water with electric-driven turbines  that require less energy to achieve the same flow. It also  began constructing a $300 million naphtha hydrotreating  unit that will significantly reduce the amount of sulfur in  its fuel, allowing it to make cleaner products and meet  federal standards.  

Located on the Lake Michigan shoreline in northwest  Indiana, 17 miles southeast of downtown Chicago, Whiting  is BP’s largest refinery anywhere in the world. It produces  around 10 million gallons of gasoline, 3.5 million gallons of  diesel and 1.7 million gallons of jet fuel each day, along with  roughly 5 percent of all asphalt in the United States. 

By way of perspective, Whiting produces enough gasoline  each day to support the average daily fuel needs of more  than 7 million cars.*

The facility first opened in 1889, as part of John D.  Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company, and for more than  125 years it has been a key anchor of the northwest  Indiana economy. It’s the largest refinery in the Midwest,  and it makes enormous contributions to the region’s  transportation network, processing around 430,000 barrels  of crude oil every day. 

In 2013, Whiting completed a modernization project that  amounted to the biggest private investment in Indiana state  history. Since then, the refinery has made great strides in  boosting plant availability, meaning it can spend more time  running normal operations. 

In 2016, Whiting completed a separate, $180 million flare  gas recovery project. The new units recover — and use as  fuel for refining — certain gases that normally would have  been released as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. 

Also in 2016, the refinery invested $235 million to remove  oil and solids from its waste water. It plans to make further  wastewater technology upgrades in late 2018 and early 2019. 

The Whiting team uses innovative technologies not only  to protect the environment and boost efficiency, but also  to improve safety. For example, the refinery has deployed  drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) to inspect flares, rather  than have workers climb up temporary scaffolding.  

“The Whiting Refinery is committed to helping build a safer,  stronger, more sustainable BP,” says Refinery Manager Don  Porter. “Technology is a big part of that, and we’re proud of  the ways in which we’ve harnessed innovation to enhance  our operations and increase our competitiveness.” 

Over the years, Whiting and its employees have supported  a diverse range of local and regional institutions, such as Ivy  Tech Community College, Purdue University and the Lake  Area United Way (LAUW).  

In 2017, the LAUW gave Whiting its Volunteer of the Year  award, in recognition of the fundraising work done by  refinery employees. 

BP also has supported local environmental initiatives,  including Student Conservation Association projects  at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, along with the  Northwest Indiana CommuniTree program, which works  with municipalities to plant trees in parks and vacant lots.