The refinery was established in 1919 by Standard Oil of Ohio and since the first barrel of oil was processed thousands of people have worked there, in some cases two or three generations of the same family.
THE REFINERY TODAY
Although it is commonly called the “Toledo” Refinery, the facility is located on 585 acres in the small town of Oregon, Ohio, just across the Maumee River from Toledo.
Each day the refinery provides parts of the U.S. with enough gasoline for 1 million average cars to drive 80 miles, diesel fuel for 700 semi-trucks to drive from New York to Los Angeles and back, and jet fuel for 100 airplanes to fly round-trip from Toledo to Miami.
The refinery employs about 600 people in Ohio and an additional 500 contract employees, with an annual payroll of more than $100 million.
“For more than 100 years, BP-Husky has been an important employer in Oregon, an important partner for our city, and an important leader of our community,” said Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian. “We look forward to working with them for the next 100 years as well.”
THE PEOPLE OF BP-HUSKY TOLEDO
Business improvement manager Tammy Eley’s father, Rick, worked at the refinery for 30 years and she grew up in the town of Oregon.
“My dad was an operator, a machinist and an instrument technician,” she said. “This place has been near and dear to our family for many years.”
Eley, who started working at the refinery in 1989, said it is a great place to work, with an employee base that is active in the community.
“One thing I am proud of is the people that work here,” she said. “This is a 24/7 operation, so people miss holidays, birthdays and special events with their families. My dad sometimes missed Christmas morning with us because he was working that day, so we had Christmas on another day, we just rolled with it. I think the people here are very dedicated, very giving, and they make sacrifices when necessary.
It’s the people that really make the difference and I am just proud to be one of them.”
Three generations of Tim Anderson’s family has worked at the refinery, beginning with his father, Danny, who signed on in 1941.
“I just had my 43rd anniversary here, I hired in as laborer in 1976,” he said.
Now a production coordinator, Anderson said it has been a challenging but very rewarding career.
“I am proud of maintaining a good work ethic and advancing from being a worker in the refinery yard to moving up the ladder to becoming a supervisor and manager and now production coordinator,” he said.
Anderson’s daughter, Lyndse Farrell and son Brad Anderson, also work there.
“The family connections just keep on going. The community and the refinery are tied together, and the refinery plays a big part of life here, donating to charities, sponsoring events, that sort of thing.”
Anderson’s daughter, Lyndse, said the refinery and the town are closely connected.
“The refinery has been an integral part of the Oregon community. Growing up I knew lots of people who worked here,” she said. “The refinery is also visually prominent, as a young child it just looked so massive to me.”
Farrell, who works in human resources, said she and other refinery families would often visit the facility for special events or family days.
“It was part of our everyday life and still is. It is also a mainstay of the community. We have multi-generational employees and we also have employees who have gotten married – it’s the relationships and the people
that make this refinery a great place to work.”
The unofficial historian for the Toledo Refinery is Frank Kocjancic, business development and strategy manager who said Standard Oil began acquiring property in 1917.
Kocjancic said the exact date the refinery started processing oil is unclear, but that operations were underway by 1919 and on Feb. 21, 1921 construction was completed.
“They started out doing about 20,000 to 30,000 barrels a day and now it is roughly 150,000 per day.”
Kocjancic has been digging up old photos and other historical documents. One of the pictures shows gasoline being delivered by horse-drawn tankers.
Kocjancic said the refinery expanded throughout the 1950s and 1960s that included the world’s first Isocracker unit in 1965.
GROWING AND IMPROVING
In the spring of 2019, the team undertook a significant maintenance turnaround – a highly-complex project serving as the cornerstone to improve reliability and help maintain a profitable operation for the years ahead.
The refinery brought in an extra 2,000 contractors to work alongside its regular personnel, completing 1.4 million work hours of activity.
The renovations and equipment upgrades included repairing one of the Isocrackers, a key unit in upgrading heavy crude products into high-value
“BP believes our talented workforce, recent upgrades and a focus on continually improving will make this one of the safest and most competitive refineries in the U.S.,” said Des Gillen, refinery manager. “We look forward to safely providing the fuels that move the Midwest for another 100 years.”
And, Toledo recently replaced its maintenance workshop with a new, more energy-efficient building, the Refinery Excellence Building, that features a higher concentration of LED lighting technology and a state-of-the-art maintenance facility. Covering 90,000 square feet, the new building houses roughly 200 employees, including engineers and crafts.
Some of Toledo’s other energy efficiency initiatives include changing light fixtures to consume less power and enhancing operational controls to make better use of steam.
“The new Refinery Excellence Center demonstrates both our commitment to safety and our commitment to using energy as efficiently as possible,” says Gillen. “It was the biggest project of its kind in our history, and we’re already seeing positive results.”
TIMELINE OF KEY EVENTS
1917: Standard Oil buys 800 acres to build refinery
1919: Operations begin
1921: Construction completed
1938: Pipelines installed under the Maumee River
1952: Cafeteria opened
1966: Capacity increased to 120,000 barrels
1976: Air and water pollution controls installed
1985: Isocracker 1 and Hydrotreater constructed
1986: New pipeline to Maumee Bay completed
2008: Joint venture with Husky announced
2012: Instrument and electrical shop built
2012: Refinery operations center completed
2017: Refinery excellence center completed