Chevron Refinery Plans To Boost Gasoline Production

Whenever Tim Charlton pulls to the Chevron gas station in Moss Point, he says it's painful looking at the rising gas prices.

"It's hurting at the pump. I've been offshore for 15 years, and I know there is plenty of oil out there. And it seems a shame they are not producing enough," Charlton said.

Because of the demand for gas in the United States, the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery is getting ready to pump out more gasoline to consumers.

"We will start construction on the new facility in the early part of 2008, and we are going to invest half a billion dollars," Chevron General Manager Roland Kell said.

Kell says the plan includes replacing two aging gas refinery units with a new state-of-the-art unit, which will speed up production.

Right now, the refinery produces about 500,000 gallons of gas per day. Once the project is finished, that number will increase to 600,000 gallons a day.

"That will increase gasoline yield at the refinery by about 10 percent," Kell said.

That equals progress to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Barbour says Chevron's investment is crucial, especially at a time when the demand for gas is not matching up with the supply in the United States.

"Our country needs more energy. We can take some lower price, cheaper oil, go through a whole lot of extra trouble in the refinery, have more gasoline for people to burn their cars," Governor Barbour said.

Chevron also plans to add 700 contractors to its workforce once construction begins early next year. That's about the same time Chevron expects to finish repairs to the crude production unit that caught fire in August.

Workers are in the process of tearing down the damaged facility and will begin rebuilding soon. No one was hurt in the fire and the cause is still under investigation.