Caltex (now Chevron)
Cape Town, South Africa

Caltex (now Chevron) Grassroots Oil Refinery - EPC

Fluor completed the refinery for Caltex (now Chevron) in 1965.

The refinery used enriched Arabian crude to produce regular and premium gasoline, diesel and fuel oils, low-pressure gas, asphalt, and kerosene.

Fluor carried out a total responsibility contract for the 30,000 barrels-per-day grassroots refinery.

Client's Challenge

South Africa's third major oil refinery, the grassroots Caltex project was built in Cape Town, one of the world's great harbors.

The $12 million refinery was built to process 30,000 barrels of enriched Arabian crude daily. Products from the Caltex refinery were to be shipped primarily to customers in South Africa and southwest Africa.

Fluor's Solution

The workforce was accustomed to building in South Africa, for it included a number of people who had worked on one or two of the petrochemical projects constructed at Sasolburg.

The crude distillation column for the refinery was purchased in England, but it was 120 feet long, with a skirt diameter of 10 feet and weight of 42 tons, too large to be shipped on British highways from Wallsend on Tyne to the port in Middlesborough.

Therefore, the column was sealed, sprayed with lanolin, and floated and towed by barge (and two radar-equipped tugboats) down the river Tyne. At the port, the column was transferred to a freighter for shipment to the job site. It was the first occasion where a column or vessel manufactured for the Fluor London office had been floated.


A significant milestone in Fluor's history, this project, coming on the heels of the styrene butadiene project for Sasol in Sasolburg, confirmed the start of what was to become a long and successful presence in South Africa.

Since that time, Fluor has established a solid reputation in the country. The company's commitment to hiring and training local craft employees to support our business and the country's transformation has helped to sustain and build our presence in the South African business and government communities.