Caribbean Refining Co.
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Caribbean Refining - Grassroots Refinery

In the 1950s, Puerto Rico began emerging from a time when its economy was almost entirely based on sugar.

Fluor was tasked with engineering and construction of the Caribbean commonwealth's first-ever oil refinery, in a landmark engineering and construction contract signed with the Caribbean Refining Company.

Client's Challenge

Working in a recently industrialized area near the city of San Juan, Fluor called upon its expertise building refineries across the globe.

The refinery was designed to produce 10,000 barrels of oil a day.

Puerto Rico was attempting to jump-start its economy by offering tax incentives to outside businesses.

While Fluor as a contractor was not eligible for the incentives, it saw the refinery as an opportunity to develop a presence with the people of Puerto Rico and with businesses active in the Commonwealth.

Fluor's Solution

The refinery was built at a cost of roughly $10 million and opened in 1955.

The installation at the refinery included a crude unit, a fluid catalytic cracking and fractionation unit, a catalytic polymerizer, and a gas concentration and treating and blending plant. Offsite, additional facilities included a tank farm, boilers, and pipelines.


The refinery was built on time and operated with considerable success, becoming a marker for Fluor's ability to deliver the latest technological achievements to newly emergent parts of the world.

The refinery also became a key component in Puerto Rico's public- and private-sector drive to promote industrial growth and economic opportunity throughout the Commonwealth.