The Richmond Refinery is the largest and oldest major oil refinery on the West Coast. Construction started in 1901, and it was soon bought by Standard Oil. It covers 2,900 acres, has 5,000 miles of pipelines, and hundreds of large tanks, that can hold up to 15 million barrels of crude, gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, lube oil, wax, and other chemicals produced by the refinery. The refinery has several distinct zones for the various stages of the refining process, including distillation, cracking, and blending. Most of these operations require intense heat and pressure, requiring 130 megawatts of power and up to 50 million gallons of cooling water daily. With a processing capacity of over 350,000 barrels per day, this refinery is among the largest in the United States. 1,600 people are employed in the process, of the 28,000 that work for Chevron worldwide. Chevron's research and technology division occupies the most visible portions of the refinery grounds, along the 580 freeway. This separate company employs over 1,000 people in work related to improving and expanding petrochemical processes and products. At the north end of the refinery grounds is a recreational center for Chevron employees, built in 1921. It is an isolated private club with a yacht harbor, shooting ranges, baseball diamonds, tennis courts and other amenities. The fence around the entire Chevron property is over six miles long. In 1984, Standard bought Gulf Oil in the largest corporate merger in history, and changed its name to Chevron. Now Chevron has merged with Texaco. Chevron is a local company, whose worldwide headquarters was on Market Street in San Francisco until a few years ago, when it moved into a new suburban campus in San Ramon.
Chevron's Richmond Refinery