press release

Unocal ready for pollution-fighting gasoline production; modifications completed $50 million under budget

Costa Mesa, Feb. 29, 1996 -- Unocal Corporation's 76 Products Company has completed refinery modifications ahead of schedule and more than $50 million under budget to manufacture its patented, pollution-fighting gasoline to meet California's strict air quality standards.

Originally budgeted at $450 million, the refinery modifications were completed for less than $400 million, more than $50 million below the original budget. The project, which required new construction as well as other refinery unit modifications, got underway in 1993 to convert 76 Products' Los Angeles and San Francisco refineries to make the new gasoline.

The modifications have led to increased yields and improved performance, further adding long-term benefits to the company. One result of this work was record production for finished gasoline, jet and diesel fuel in late 1995 at the Los Angeles Refinery, a 125,000 barrel/day facility, 76 Product's largest.

"We were looking at a large capital investment mandated by law in a tough economic climate, while answering to the strictest environmental standards in the world," said Art Felderman, vice-president of refining for 76 Products Company. "To come in $50 million under budget while improving efficiency overall is a tribute to the aggressive and innovative teamwork approach we feel is necessary to increase profitability into the future," he added.

Good project planning, management and fixed priced contractor bidding were key factors in controlling costs. "Having the best plan in the world would have been meaningless if our people weren't able to execute it," said Larry Ziemba, Los Angeles refinery manager. "Hundreds of our refinery employees and our engineering and construction group really deserve credit."

Safety was also under sharp focus at the refineries. Over the length of the project, employees and contractors logged more than 3 million safe work hours without a "lost workday case", an OSHA term that translates into nobody missing a day of work due to an injury on the job. At its peak, over 1,800 people were involved with the project.

All gasoline producers in the state are required to begin making cleaner burning gasoline by March 1 and all retail stations in the state are required to sell it exclusively by June 1. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state agency that mandated the new fuel law, cleaner burning gasoline will remove 3 million pounds of pollution from California's skies everyday -- the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off of California's roadways.

Updated: February 1996