Old Stuff from the Oil Fields
  (The vanishing outdoor oil museum of the San Joaquin Valley)


San Joaquin Valley Refineries at the end of WWI

Phoenix Refining Company   Bakersfield   1902
Union Oil Co. of Calif.Bakersfield1895
Vulcan Oil Co.Bakersfield1901
American Refining Co.Fellows1912
California-Fresno Oil Co.Fresno1901
Hanford Oil Refining Co.Hanford1913
King Refining Co.Kern River1901
Producers Refining Co.Kern River1904
Standard Oil Co.Kern River1914
Buckeye Refining Co.Kern River1914
Warren Bros.Kern River1914
Adeline Con. Road Oil Co.Maricopa1913
Sunset Monarch Oil Co.Maricopa1907


History of the Mohawk Refinery
(located between Rosedale Higway and the Kern River in Bakersfield)

Capacity: 70,000 bbl/day

  • 1932 - Refinery opens as the Mohawk Refinery, producing 1,500 barrels/day
  • 1935 - A new cracker unit increases production to 9,000 barrels/day
  • 1942-45 - Refinery is temporarily combined by the government with an adjacent refinery to produce military fuel for the war effort.
  • 1970 - Reserve Oil and Gas Company acquires the refinery, which at the time is producing about 40,000 barrels/day.
  • 1980 - Getty Oil Company acquires Reserve, and expands the refinery production to 45,000 barrels/day.
  • 1984 - Texaco acquires Getty, and the Mohawk Refinery becomes the Texaco Bakersfield Plant. Texaco subsequently expands the processing to include more heavy crude from the San Joaquin Valley.
  • 1986 - Texaco purchases the adjacent Tosco Refinery, integrates both facilities, and doubles the output of gasoline. Additional acquisitions continue into the next year, eventually expanding production to 70,000 barrels/day
  • 1998 - Texaco Bakersfield Plant becomes part of a merger of the refining and marketing assets of Shell and Texaco to create Equilon Enterprises.
  • 2000 - Shell Oil purchases Texaco's interest in Equilon to become sole owner of the refinery. Although Shell soon announces plans to close the facility, political pressure forces Shell to seek a buyer to keep the refinery open.
  • 2005 - Flying J Inc. purchases the refinery from Shell, and operates it as a subsidiary named Big West of California. The refinery at the time is producing about 68,000 barrels/day. However, Flying J ultimately experiences financial difficulties and begins planning a shutdown of the facility unless a buyer can be found.
  • 2010 - Alon purchases the Big West refinery from Flying J, and announces plans to move most of the refining operations to other facilities.


History of the Arvin Refinery
(formerly the El Tejon Refinery)

Capacity: 25,000 bbl/day

  • 1934 – Refinery constructed by El Tejon Oil & Refining Co. with a capacity of 1,400 barrels.
  • 1937 – A 2,200 barrels per day thermal cracking unit begins operation.
  • 1943 - Kreiger Oil Company of Paramount, California purchases refinery, and operates it as Palos Verdes Estates.
  • 1945 - The name Palos Verdes Estates is changed to Douglas Oil Company of California.
  • 1962 - Continental Oil purchases refinery from Douglas Oil Company.
  • 1966 - Continental Oil sells refinery to a joint venture owned by Edgington Oil & Refining Co. and Signal Oil & Gas, and the refinery name changes to Kern County Refinery, Inc.
  • 1971 - Charter Oil Company of Jacksonville, Florida, acquires refinery and operates the plant through a subsidiary named Kern County Refinery, Inc.
  • 1976 – Charter Oil Company sells Kern County Refinery, Inc to private investors.
  • 1982 - Kern County Refinery, Inc, becomes Kern Oil & Refining Company., which is the current operator of the former El Tejon Refinery. However, to most people the operation today is known simply as the Arvin refinery.