Gov. Phil Bryant joined Chevron officials Thursday in celebrating the start up of the Pascagoula Base Oil Project. That expansion of the refinery makes Chevron the world's largest producer of premium base oils.
The $1.4 billion investment is a critical part of the company's long term growth. Bryant and Rep. Steven Palazzo joined Chevron officials for a tour of the Pascagoula Base Oil Project.
The expansion, known at the refinery as "P-Bop", created some 2,000 jobs during the construction phase. It will produce 25,000 barrels of premium base oil a day.
"Has created 50 full-time additional jobs in the refinery today that will go on forever. We spent nearly $200 million in Jackson County in local supplies and services with the many suppliers and people providing that," said refinery Operations Manager Joe Robison.
The base oils produced there will help meet the growing demand for lower viscosity, top tier motor oils. Higher performance engines and tougher emission standards are driving that demand.
"Stringent emission standards are already established in Europe, which will be a major export market for our P-Bop capacity. The rest of the world, particularly here in North America, is also pushing toward increasingly stringent standards," said Colleen Cervantes, President of Chevron Lubricant.
Bryant says while it's great when Mississippi can welcome new companies and industry, it's perhaps even more gratifying when an existing firm invests and expands here.
"It is the one thing that I have noticed brings everyone together. It doesn't matter what location you're in. It doesn't matter what political party you're in or what church you go to. Economic development is something the Mississippians come together on," said Bryant.
Base oil produced at the P-Bop facility will supply the eastern U.S. markets and be exported to Europe and Latin America.
The Pascagoula expansion doubles Chevron's production of premium base oil. The company also produces base oil at refineries in California and South Korea.
Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.