PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Since 1961, Chevron has spent more than $3 billion on improvements in Pascagoula. The latest project will fill the plant's tanks with 600,000 gallons more of gasoline each day when it goes on-line next year. Already, the refinery produces 5.5 million gallons of gas each day, not to mention other products.
Company spokesman Steve Renfro, who has been with Chevron for 34 years, said it shows a real commitment.
"Refinery equipment is sort of like your automobile, you have to maintain it in good times or bad. So the fact they are continuing to invest even with this downturn in the economy is certainly a good sign." Renfro said.
The $500 million is being used to construct a new production stack, which will replace two older, less efficient units. More than 700 construction workers will be busy for the next year, getting the unit ready to begin production. But the improvements don't stop now, according to Renfro.
"We hope that by sometime next year we'll have a final investment decision on even another project, the base oil project that we have talked about. That will just be the next project in a long line of major capital projects here at the refinery."
Pascagoula Mayor Robbie Maxwell said the decision to improve the capacity of the refinery goes beyond dollars and cents.
"Those employees out there are highly motivated, they work in the community, they're involved in everything, the Heart Fund, the United Way and all those things that are important to a community. And they do a fantastic job, and we're very glad to have them," Maxwell said.
And so are Jackson County businesses, that depend of Chevron's 1600 employees to keep the county's economic engine running.