The first oil refinery built in Texas City was established in 1908 by the Texas City Refining Company. Contractor J. C. Black and more than 100 craftsmen constructed the refinery. Processing equipment included eleven stills, storage tanks, and a boiler house. Railroad tank cars delivered crude oil for processing. The finished product was shipped by rail or carried by pipeline to the Texas City docks for loading on seagoing tankers.
Through the years more land was purchased, extra storage tanks were built, and facilities were modernized as technology advanced. Petroleum products made during both world wars provided significant contributions to the nation's defense. World War II production demands caused Texas City's population to nearly triple.
Despite economic shifts, natural disasters and accidents, oil industry fluctuations, and multiple owners, this refinery has been an integral part of the area for over eight decades, providing employment for hundreds of employees, and infusing millions of dollars into local, regional, and national economies. Now an upgraded, modern facility, the refinery's capacity for processing crude oil has grown from 1,500 barrels per day in 1908 to 130,000 barrels per day in the 1990s.