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The California Petroleum Co. - the People


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Today, employees are assigned a 12-hour shift around the clock. During their shift, each employee is in charge of the offsite refinery and the marine terminal. Tasks include watching tank levels, taking tank level readings, and notifying the State Lands Commission if a ship or barge comes in to offload product. The employee is also responsible for completing the necessary paperwork for the state and other agencies when a vessel docks at the terminal. If an oil spill occurs, this worker notifies his or her superiors of an emergency and a general alarm is sounded. A call for a general alarm beckons different agencies, including the fire department and a spill control and cleanup firm. Everyone works together to contend with the oil problem in the water.

Ships that enter the berth carry a variety of petroleum products. Depending on the type of product offloaded, workers at the terminal will pipe it into large or small tanks. The large tanks are typically used to store gasoline, oil, and slurry, which comes from ships in large volumes. The smaller tanks are designed to store "Jet A" fuel used for aviation. Some tanks in the tank farms are insulated for heating purposes. These tanks store thick product, such as slurry, which needs to be kept warm to move from the tanks to the pipes. In recent years, the consistency of this type of product was altered to allow for easier flow into the pipes.

Initially, when a ship or barge enters the berth to offload oil, it needs to be inspected by the fire department before hoses are attached to the vessel. Upon the fire department's approval, berth employees attach hoses to the ship and the product is linked up to whichever tank will be used to store the product. Different hoses on the dock are used for the different products offloaded from incoming ships. The oil moves through the hoses to the hard piping and manifold system by the dock and onto the tank farm. The manifold consists of piping with many valves that determine where the product will flow. The product is stored in the tanks and then routed to designated refineries or shipped where needed.