TOUR EXXON MOBIL REFINERY THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2011

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1 TOUR EXXON MOBIL REFINERY THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2011 It was nearly a full bus load of Explorers that made the trip to Baytown for this very interesting tour. We met our hosts at a ten story office building across Hwy. 330 from the plant entrance. The white building is the tallest in Baytown and is popularly known as the White House. We were warmly greeted by several Exxon Mobil personnel and ushered into a large conference room. Our very knowledgeable guides for the day were Pamela Farmer and Gary Gard. Pamela handled our orientation and Gary was our guide on the plant tour. Exxon Mobil s White House office building in Baytown, Texas A nice continental breakfast was awaiting us. We had a choice of several different Danish type pastries. You had to eat one of each to decide which one was best. It certainly got the day off to a good start. The orientation was very thorough and there was no doubt that Pam was in charge and knew her subject well. A short film was shown to get us started. She had a large table in front that had at least fifty different items, most being familiar to us. Every one of the items was made in whole or in part by a derivative of oil or gas. We found out in a hurry that this plant makes far more than just gasoline and lubricating oils.

2 The Baytown Refinery first came on stream in the year It was located in Baytown primarily because it was close to the famous Goose Creek oil field. It has never really stopped growing with very few years going by without some form of major renovation or addition. A large separate Chemical Plant is now also on site. All of the major refineries now have many different specialties they can perform. By trying to compare apples to apples the Baytown Refinery is now the largest in the United States and the sixth largest in the world. Pam continued by telling us interesting stories about the refinery and its many years of operation. She turned the table on us and had each one tell her our job duties with Tenneco and how it might compare to any of their operations. We found the information interesting because Tenneco was so large that we know very little about what other Club members have done. It was now time to tour the plant so we, along with our guides, boarded the bus. Group photo of Explorers in the Exxon Mobil Refinery White House conference room prior to the plant tour. Security, of course, is a major issue for large plants. Every time we went from one section to another we went through security check but it was made easier because they all knew we were coming. Gary Gard took our microphone and gave us a running commentary of what we were seeing. He was able to answer all of our many questions. We made several stops to allow time to explain an operation but we never left the bus.

3 We saw many towers and miles and miles of above ground piping. Matter of fact we were told there are over 5,000 miles of above ground piping and half a million valves on the property. There is even a cemetery on the property. When the property was originally purchased there was a small cemetery on the land and it was in the agreement that the new owners would maintain it. Ninety one years later it is still being done. The best way to describe the place is to say it is huge. It covers 3,400 acres of land and that is approximately the same number of employees, so they say that there is one acre for each employee. Most of the employees are not employed directly by Exxon Mobil. They are contract personnel. The plant has only been completely shut down twice and that was for hurricanes. The plant, on the average, handles 585,000 barrels of oil each day. They have the capacity of handling over 600,000 barrels. They specialize in handling sour crude that a lot of plants cannot handle. The price of this crude is a lot cheaper than a higher grade, hence there is more profit made. The refinery is located on Galveston Bay so most of their crude comes by sea. Their largest storage tanks will hold 500,000 barrels and this is the amount a typical tanker holds. So this means they must have an average of one ship per day to keep up with the plant capacity. Major maintenance, called turn around is scheduled on different parts of the plant either every five years or every ten years. We covered the entire area and it took a little over an hour including the Chemical Plant. We heard a lot about the research work they are doing. There were large beds of algae growing. We always thought algae was something you did not want but they think they can make it useful. It was now time to thank our hosts for a very interesting tour and to move on. We did not have far to go. It was just a couple of miles down the road toward town that we found the El Toro Restaurant. We had covered so much territory that we worked up a good appetite. The Tex-Mex food was very good and the servings more than adequate. After a nice break we were ready for our next adventure.

4 Bob Pruessner, Alton Milrany & Ed Stafford Mike & Suzy Kees plus Martin Grady Beulah & Claude Cox Barbara & Joe Keen Jim & Rita Spencer Sunshine & Earl Sturgeon

5 Margaret Overgoner and guests David & Sharon Lemons County Bus Driver Hubert Johnson and Club member Mary Frances Lilley Carol & Larry Young Virginia & Gerry McEathron Bill Ledbetter & George Benoit Charlotte Benoit & Cheryl Ledbetter

6 Located in the old Post Office Building, we found the Baytown Historical Museum. The building is in good shape and the museum has a neat and clean appearance. The museum tells the story of Baytown all the way from Texas Independence to modern times. The petroleum industry is highlighted with displays of both the Goose Creek field and the refinery. What we saw here was certainly in line with our other activities of the day. This turned out to be home coming for our own Explorer, Martin Grady. He is by far the most famous Baytown native that I know. We found out that our bus guide, Gary Gard, had worked at the plant for several years with Martin s brother-in-law. If that wasn t enough, we also found out the director we met at the museum is a very good friend of Martin s sister. Martin Grady searching for that elusive brick at the Baytown Historical Museum

7 Club Member Martin Grady pointing to his sister & brother-in-law s (Rowena & James Parker) commemorative brick at the Baytown Historical Museum (1 of 2). Note: James nickname at Exxon Mobil was Slats and he was the supervisor back in the day of our bus tour guide, Gary Gard. We were given a bit of information about Exxon Mobil that caught us by surprise. We were told that Exxon Mobil intends to divest itself of all of its retail outlets and will continue in wholesale operations only. No time frame was given. This obviously tells you where the profit is in this business. It was a very interesting day. If you would ask anyone that made the trip what surprised them the most, I think they would say the immense size of the refinery. I m sure most of you have driven by the plant on the highway and could tell it was large, but you only get the full picture when you are up close and drive on every street in every complex. It was totally overwhelming.

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