Situated on 1,500 acres, Shell Deer Park strives to be a good steward to the Deer Park community. Last week, the Deer Park Rotary Club was invited into the sprawling complex to see a glimpse of what it takes to operate the facility 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Shell Deer Park is a fully integrated petrochemical plant located on the north side of State Hwy. 225 and extending all the way to the Houston Ship Channel. If the docks on the Shell facility were its own port, it would be the 25th largest port by volume in the United States, said Shell's Bryan Schorzman, who is also a Rotarian.
About 2,500 vessels are loaded or off-loaded every year at the Shell Deer Park facility.
Schorzman said Shell Deer Park operates under the mantra of "People and Planet."
"If we cannot run in a way that is sustainable to the planet and our people, then we are not going to do it," he said. The philosophy includes operations and ideals.
Some 1,300 employees are located on site with 1,300 contractors. When an area at the Shell Deer Park facility goes through a turnaround, there could be up to 5,000 persons working at the facility.
These include third-party entities located at the plant, including Calpine and Momentive. Until last week, Shell Deer Park was the company's largest plant in the United States. It was unseated by the activation of Shell's Port Arthur refining facility.
Opened in 1929, Shell Deer Park is a 50-50 joint venture formed in 1993 between the Shell Oil Company and PMI Norteamerica and refines 330,000 barrels per day. By comparison, the Port Arthur facility refines 600,000 barrels per day, Schorzman said.
The facility produces low-sulfur gasoline, ultra-low sulfur diesel and military jet fuel.
Shell Deer Park also processes Maya crude oil from Mexico and processes fuel from Venezuela and Africa.
Also on the refinery's grounds is Shell Chemical, which produces the building blocks to thousands of consumer items. These inlcude ethylene, propylene, butadiene, butylene, isoprene, piperylene, dicyclopentadiene, benzene, toluene, xylene, phenol, acetone and cumene.
With the volatility of such products, Shell Deer Park operates toward Goal 0, Schorzman said.
"That's zero impact on the environment and safety," he said. Shell Deer Park is a Voluntary Protection Program Star site.
"Our employees come in and they go home at the end of the day," Schorzman said. "Safety is our No. 1 priority."