In 1924, L. H. Pritchard and J. Steven Anderson opened West Texas Refinery Company just west of Colorado City to process Mitchell County Oil. Ownership soon changed to Standard Oil of California, which renamed the company Col-Tex Refining. From the 1930s to 1950s, the refinery operated at a full capacity of 12,000 barrels a day. The company was a major part of Colorado City life; it employed many local workers and residents timed their activities by the refinery whistle.
In 1958, Cosden Petroleum Company acquired the refinery and sold it five years later to American Petrofina, which managed the refinery until ceasing operations in 1969. Their successor, Fina, commenced environmental cleanup of the refinery in 1992.