Key facts

Location: Gulf of Mexico, USA

Category: Complex refinery

Interest: Shell 50%, Saudi Aramco 50%

A five-year expansion project at Port Arthur Refinery completed in 2012 more than doubled the facility’s daily processing capacity, from 275,000 to 600,000 barrels of crude oil.


The expanded refinery is capable of handling most grades of crude, even the lowest quality. A three-unit naphtha processing complex includes a catalytic reformer which converts 85,000 b/d into high octane gasoline for blending. The scale of the expansion included 725 pumps, 19 compressors, 514 heat exchangers and several new tanks.

Economic development and society

At Port Arthur, where the local community supported the expansion, more than $17 billion has been generated in regional economic development. Around 14,500 people worked on the expansion project at peak construction and more than 300 new permanent jobs were created. Strategies were implemented that improved public infrastructure and reduced the impact of construction on local communities.


Shell has the largest branded fuels retailing network in the USA. The Port Arthur expansion is delivering increased supplies of petrol (gasoline), diesel and aviation fuel nationally as well as for export to other countries. The refinery’s strategic location on the Gulf of Mexico coast allows crude oil to be brought in by sea, and it has excellent links to the national fuel distribution network.

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