U.S. Oil and Refining

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U.S. Refining Co.
Type Subsidiary
Industry Oil Refining
Founded 1952 as Pacific Oil & Refining Co.
1955 as U.S. Oil & RefininTacoma, Washington, USA
Products Petrochemical
Employees 160
Website www.usor.com

U.S. Oil & Refining Co. is an oil refinery located in the tideflats of Tacoma, Washington.


USOR was organized in 1952 as a privately held corporation, then named Pacific Oil & Refining Co. The president of the company at that time was Dr. Ernest Lyder. The company was formed for purposes of building an oil refinery in the Pacific Northwest. In 1954, the refinery's present site in Tacoma was purchased, and in 1955 its name was changed to U.S. Oil & Refining Co.

Construction of the initial facility, a 5,000 barrels per day (790 m3/d) (stream) refinery, began during the summer of 1955. Construction was completed in mid-1957. By the end of that year, the refinery was in full operation. Chico Marx entertained at the ground-breaking ceremony on July 22, 1955, for the new $10 million plant. Tacoma Mayor Harold Tollefson and senators Warren G. Magnuson and Henry M. Jackson also attended the ceremony. The site had been a favorite spot for fishing, swimming, and duck hunting in earlier years. The west end of the site had once been the city landfill, which at one time contained (unmodified, unstripped) Japanese Zeros brought over from after World War II. The east end of the site was once wetlands.

A second crude unit, capable of processing heavy crude oil, used in the manufacture of paving grade asphalt, became operational in 1959. USOR was sold to Astra Oil Trading in 2006. Astra is a subsidiary of Transcor. In 2014, US Oil was sold to TRAILSTONE / RIVERSTONE.

Products and facility[edit]

Partial view of USOR with Mt. Rainier in background

The refinery, with current crude capacity of 39,000 barrels per day (6,200 m3/d) is located on 136 acres (55 ha) in the deep-water Port of Tacoma, Washington. This includes 11.5 acres (4.7 ha) of waterfront with 1,350 feet (410 m) of waterfront on the Blair Waterway which provides direct access by ocean-going barges and tankers. Five pipelines, varying in size, connect the refinery and marine terminal. There is also a 14.5-mile (23.3 km) pipeline connecting the refinery to McChord Air Force Base, supplying jet fuel to the base. The refinery has direct rail access and is close to both a major interstate highway system and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The refinery's products include gasoline, diesel, marine and jet fuels, residual fuels, and asphalt. These products are made by use of a few different primary process units, including vacuum distillation, catalytic reforming, isomerization, and diesel hydrotreating.

USOR receives all of its crude oil by vessel at its dock. The refinery has storage capacity for approximately one million barrels of crude oil and one million barrels of refined petroleum products. Projects are currently underway (2007) to build an additional 500,000 barrels (79,000 m3) of crude oil and 250,000 barrels (40,000 m3) of product storage capacity. Product distribution facilities include truck & trailer, marine and rail loading for fuels and asphalt in Tacoma, and deliveries of jet fuel via pipeline.


  1. USOR company archives and External Links below
  2. Tacoma Public Library - Tacoma Past & Present

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°15′31″N 122°23′43″W / 47.25861°N 122.39528°W / 47.25861; -122.39528