Chevron adjusts expansion work to protect baby owls

Two Great Horned Owl fledglings were recently discovered in an elevator shaft at Chevron Pascagoula Refinery.
Two Great Horned Owl fledglings were recently discovered in an elevator shaft at Chevron Pascagoula Refinery.
Randy Thweatt, Chevron Health, Environmental and Safety Lead for Major Capital Projects, has been monitoring the growth of the owl fledglings. (Photo source: Chevron Pascagoula Refinery)
Randy Thweatt, Chevron Health, Environmental and Safety Lead for Major Capital Projects, has been monitoring the growth of the owl fledglings. (Photo source: Chevron Pascagoula Refinery)

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Two Great Horned Owl fledglings are forcing Chevron Pascagoula Refinery to reschedule portions of its $1.4 billion expansion project. The baby owls were discovered nesting in an elevator shaft, which was scheduled for demolition February 17.

"As soon as we found the owls, we contacted fish and wildlife experts for help identifying the type of owl and guidance in how best to protect them," explained Randy Thweatt, Chevron Health, Environmental and Safety Lead for Major Capital Projects. "They told us the owls will probably leave the nest on their own in about six weeks, so the best plan seems to be to just let nature takes its course."

Workers have been redirected to other portions of the project, and the feathered guests are not expected to delay the overall construction timeline. Everyone has been instructed to stay at least 75 feet away from the nest to avoid disturbing the fledglings and causing stress on the mother.

"Our whole team takes a lot of pride in the fact these owls have chosen to nest here," Thweatt said. "We're all committed to making sure they are protected, and I'm glad to work for a company that is willing to prioritize the best interests of local wildlife."

The Base Oil Project began in 2009, and is expected to be complete by late 2013. When complete, the facility will manufacture 25,000 barrels per day of premium base oil, the main ingredient in the production of top-tier motor oil.

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