Berth 147 Berths 150-151 Berth 154 Berths 171-173 Berth 240
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Berths 171-173 - The California Petroleum Co.

Discover how this oil terminal helped transform the Port of Los Angeles into a major petroleum product shipping and manufacturing center during the Southern California oil boom.

Site diagram of Berths 17-0-171
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During the 1920s, the oil industry at the Port was dominated by the larger regional producers, particularly Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) and Union Oil (now Unocal). The smaller, independent producers operating transshipment terminals included California Petroleum, Julian Oil (later Sunset Oil), Hancock Oil, General Petroleum, Pan-American Oil (later Richfield Oil), and Associated Oil. Two of the larger out-of-state producers with a presence in the region included The Texas Company and Shell Oil.

California Petroleum Company constructed this oil terminal site in 1923 during the peak years of the Southern California oil boom. On March 2, 1928, the Texas Company acquired the California Petroleum Company. It remained a division of The Texas Company (The Texas Company of California) until 1941, when the various divisions of The Texas Company (later Texaco) merged. Since 1982, GATX has operated the marine oil terminal.

Construction of wharf along Berths 171-174
Construction of wharf along Berths 171-174

The Chevron and Hancock terminals are now demolished. The Julian, General, and Pan-American operations remain, but are currently under the ownership of Ultramar Diamond Shamrock, Mobil, and GATX, respectively. All appear to be somewhat reduced in size from the historic period, with the removal of at least some of the early oil tanks. The Shell, Union, and Texas Company sites appear to be the only extant examples of the larger companies' oil terminal sites from the historic period exhibiting only few or minor alterations. Of these three, the Union Oil site at Berth 150 is the most historically significant, particularly when considered in connection with the sprawling refinery located on the hillside to the west and the importance of the company's role in founding the modern California oil industry.