Cherry Point Refinery

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Cherry Point Refinery
Cherry Point Refinery is located in Washington (state)
Cherry Point Refinery
Location of the Cherry Point Refinery in Washington, United States
Country United States
City Blaine, Washington
Coordinates 48°52′53″N 122°44′15″W / 48.88139°N 122.73750°W / 48.88139; -122.73750Coordinates: 48°52′53″N 122°44′15″W / 48.88139°N 122.73750°W / 48.88139; -122.73750
Refinery details
Owner(s) BP
Commissioned 1971
Capacity 225,000 bbl/d (35,800 m3/d)

The Cherry Point Refinery, owned by BP, is the largest oil refinery in Washington (and was the 30th largest in the U.S. in 2015). It is located about 7 mi (11 km) south of Blaine and 8 mi (13 km) northwest of Ferndale,[1] a few miles south of the Canada–US border, on the Strait of Georgia between Birch Bay and Lummi Bay. Completed in 1971, its construction was overseen by George W. Glade, President of Parsons Constructors, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ralph M. Parsons Company. It is the fourth largest refinery on the West Coast, and is the last major oil refinery built in the United States.[2] The Cherry Point refinery supplies about 20% of the gasoline in Washington state.[3][4]

When first operational in 1971, Cherry Point had a capacity of about 100,000 barrels (16,000 m3). It currently processes over 225,000 barrels (35,800 m3) of petroleum (crude oil) per day, with 90% becoming gasoline, diesel or jet fuel.[5] It covers about 3,300 acres (1,300 ha).[6]

Most of Cherry Point's crude oil is from the Alaska North Slope. It is brought in by petroleum tankers via the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Rosario Strait and delivered directly to the refinery via the facility's tanker pier near a minor headland called Cherry Point, on the Strait of Georgia.[7][8] The remainder of the crude comes from a pipeline connected to reserves in Western Canada. In January 2014 the refinery finished construction of a rail facility to import Bakken crude from North Dakota.[9]

The gasoline and diesel are primarily shipped to filling stations in Washington and Oregon via the Olympic Pipeline and over-the-road fuel trucks. Jet fuel from Cherry Point Refinery accounts for 85% of the fuel used by the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.[10] Significant quantities of calcined coke are also produced and shipped to the nearby ALCOA aluminum smelter.

Originally an Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) facility when it opened in 1971, the refinery became a BP operation in January 2002. BP acquired ARCO in April 2000. [1]

A fire in February, 2012, caused the plant to be shut down for several weeks.[11]

A coal export facility known as the Gateway Pacific Terminal was proposed to be built here. However this proposal was strongly opposed by the Lummi Nation, who argued that the proposal infringed on their rights under the Treaty of Point Elliott, and that it would have destroyed the local ecosystems of the local fisheries. The project was also opposed by the Sightline Institute and the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. On May 9, 2016, the United States Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit to the project, citing the Lummi Nation's treaty-protected fishing rights.[12]


  1. ^ "WA Industrial BP Cherry Point Refinery Page". Washington State Department of Ecology. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Top U.S. Refineries
  3. ^ Zaz Hollander (May 2012). "Following North Slope Crude: From the ground to the gas station". Alaska Business Monthly. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "BP Cherry Point refinery back in operation". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. May 31, 2012. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  5. ^ BP Fact Sheet
  6. ^ "Cherry Point Refinery, Facility Fact Sheet" (PDF). BP. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Scherer, Migael (16 December 2004). A Cruising Guide to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands: Olympia to Port Angeles. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-07-142039-6. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Cherry Point". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  9. ^ John Stark (November 30, 2012). "BP taking next steps on rail project for crude oil". Bellingham Herald. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ BP About the refinery
  11. ^
  12. ^ Mapes, Lynda (9 May 2016). "Tribes prevail, kill proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point". Seattle Times. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 

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