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Challenging Chevron: From the Bay to Iraq
by Puck Lo
Monday Mar 17th, 2008 3:13 PM
Chevron is the third largest company in the US…seventh largest in the world. Last year, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company- also known as Conoco Phillips- made over $18 billion in profits – the highest amount ever made in it's nearly 130 year history. According to the Dept of Energy, Chevron has been refining oil from Iraq at its Richmond refinery since the war began. On Saturday, activists blockaded a Chevron refinery in Northern California, the first MOVE in a week of actions designed to "bring the war home." Puck Lo files this report From Richmond, CA.
Chevron is the third largest company in the US…seventh largest in the world. Last year, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company- also known as Conoco Phillips- made over $18 billion in profits – the highest amount ever made in it's nearly 130 year history. Activists say that Chevron profits from domestic environmental racism and US imperialism. The group "Direct Action to Stop the War" alleges that Chevron supported the Bush administration's attempts to force the Iraqi government to open its nationalized oil industry to foreign investment and control. According to the Dept of Energy, Chevron has been refining oil from Iraq at its Richmond refinery since the war began. On Saturday, activists blockaded a Chevron refinery in Northern California, the first MOVE in a week of actions designed to "bring the war home." Puck Lo files this report From Richmond, CA.

A brass band accompanied more than three hundred antiwar activists who marched to the refinery, where dozens sat with their arms "locked down" in PVC tubes, blocking the street. Eventually, police arrested 24 of the protesters, who formed a human barricade outside the massive Chevron oil refinery…

Chevron's Richmond refinery has long been contentious to many local residents who say the corporation is polluting low-income communities of color in the Bay Area. Richmond is directly across the San Francisco Bay from wealthy Marin County, but it is one of the most impoverished cities in the area... known for its depressed, post-industrial economy and high rates of violence.

And it has a long history of racist segregation. That's according to Mary "Peace" Head, a Richmond resident of 65 years:

"After the war they didn't want Black people around, so they built this community special for us…"

That community is located downwind from the Chevron oil refinery.

Head says that Chevron subsidizes many of Richmond's festivals and even social programs:

"It's not a whole lot of rich people who live in Richmond. It's a whole lot of donations that they give…It's very few things that go on in Richmond that Chevron doesn't support."

But others argue that Richmond shouldn't have to rely on corporate donations to fund services.

"All the money spent on the war could have been spent on education and our community here…"

Torm Nompraseurt is a Laotian immigrant who works with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. He says Southeast Asians make up 10 percent of Richmond's population. Many of them –including himself- are refugees of US military invasions. Now most of them suffer from adverse health conditions they think are caused by pollution from the refinery.

"Every time our community here die, the result is always they have cancer. This cancer, that cancer. And also our young kids- and our elders- have a lot of asthma in our community."

It's a critical moment in the protracted battle between Chevron and its Bay Area opponents. At issue is a controversial proposal from Chevron. They want to replace several of its Richmond facilities and upgrade existing processing equipment. Local residents fear that the upgrades will allow Chevron to process dirtier, more polluting, crude oils because they are cheaper.

Jessica Tovar is with the environmental justice group, Communities for a Better Environment. She says:

"They're laying down the infrastructure to be able to process thicker crude oil. But they've disguised it as "upgrades" to the refinery."

Chevron officials – who have not returned phone calls at the time of this report- say that the proposed change would not increase pollution.

But Richmond's Mayor, Gail McLaughlin, calls the environmental assessment submitted by Chevron incomplete.

"Chevron, through this proposed project, wants to increase yearly greenhouse gas emissions 898,000 metric tons. This is not what our environment needs. And the sulfur- and all the other volatile organic compounds, the flaring… All this is something the Environmental Impact Report needs to fully reveal, needs to tell us what that impact is…"

Aileen Suzara is a Board member of Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity. They work to build support for people in the Philippines who suffer from Chevron's toxic pollution there.

Suzara says that environmental justice becomes "transnational" when US residents pressure US corporations to stop polluting in communities overseas, as well as in their home countries.

"Right now everyone is marching, going to the Chevron refineries here, and just over in San Ramon, there's the international headquarters for Chevron. So that's been an active site, saying that, you know, even though we are overseas, what's being decided by people who live here- the Board of Directors who lives here, shareholders who live here… are intimately connected with the lives of people overseas."

The city will hold a public hearing on Chevron's application for the refinery upgrade this Thursday.

In Richmond, CA, this is Puck Lo, Free Speech Radio News.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by DG
Monday Mar 17th, 2008 4:53 PM
How can one take any part of this "article" seriously when the author hasn't even researched the issue far enough to know that Chevron and ConocoPhillips are not the same company. I find the argument that a corporation's support of the local community is somehow wrong because the federal government is spending money on the Iraq war particularly mystifying. People are certainly entitled to the opinion that the war is wrong and can argue that the oil industry is profiting from the results of the war, but please stick to the facts (and get them straight). Don't make absurd emotional arguments without any real facts to back them up.
by Puck Lo
Monday Mar 17th, 2008 5:29 PM
This from the Chevron Phillips website:

"On July 1, 2000, Chevron Corporation and Phillips Petroleum Company, now ConocoPhillips, combined its worldwide petrochemicals businesses, excluding Chevron’s oronite additives business, to form Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC..."
by DG
Tuesday Mar 18th, 2008 5:59 AM
ChevronPhillips Chemical is a joint venture between the two separate corporations that is focused on the chemicals segment of the business, a comparatively small part of the companies' activities. Chevron and ConocoPhillips are not the same company.
by ChevronTexaco owns Unocal
Wednesday Mar 19th, 2008 3:24 PM
ChevronTexaco is the official name of the merger between Chevron and Texaco. ConocoPhillips is the result of mergers between several smaller corporations, including 76 stations. Unocal is now owned by ChevronTexaco, though ConocoPhillips exists as a distinct entity. What the author of the above article is talking about is the joint venture between ChevronTexaco and ConocoPhillips called Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC that specializes in petroleum derived synthetics;

Background on Chevron Phillips Chemical;

"Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC
10001 6 Pines Dr.
The Woodlands, TX 77380-1498
TX Tel. 832-813-4100
Toll Free 800-231-1212
Fax 800-231-3890

Type: Joint Venture
On the web:
Employees: 5,150
Employee growth: 0.0%

A coin toss determined which company's name would go first when Chevron and Phillips Petroleum (now ConocoPhillips) formed 50-50 joint venture Chevron Phillips Chemical Company in 2000. Among the largest US petrochemical firms, the company produces ethylene, propylene, polyethylene, and polypropylene -- sometimes used as building blocks for the company's other products such as pipe. Chevron Phillips Chemical also produces aromatics such as benzene and styrene, specialty chemicals such as acetylene black (a form of carbon black), and mining chemicals. The company has formed several petrochemicals joint ventures in the Middle East (including Saudi Chevron Phillips Company, 50%, and Qatar Chemical Company, 60%). "

info found @;

The trend appears to be further planned mergers and aquisitions, resulting in ever increasing power held by the few remaining petroleum corporate monopolies. ExxonMobil remains the largest and most powerful petroleum monopoly around since their earlier name of Standard Oil, ESSO, etc.. from the Rockefeller days, later broken up by anti-trust laws, now back together again..

Background on oil monopoly;

"Monopoly capitalism and the oil industry"

By John Beacham

"In the past six years, the richest oil companies have dropped even the façade of competition and are again forming behemoth corporations in order to magnify their profits.

In 1999, Mobil and Exxon merged. The huge ExxonMobil Corporation makes $330 billion a year in revenue. To put this kind of money in perspective, Halliburton makes about $20 billion in revenue, while Microsoft generates $40 billion every year. ExxonMobil revenues are larger than the 2004 gross domestic product of Egypt.

In 2000, British Petroleum bought ARCO. British Petroleum now generates $310 billion a year in revenue.

In 2002, Phillips merged with Conoco. ConocoPhillips does $135 billion a year in revenue. In August 2005 ChevronTexaco—formed in 2000 by the merger of Chevron and Texaco—bought Unocal. ChevronTexaco now does $160 billion a year in business.

In 1994, Exxon made $140,000 of profit for every worker it employed, according to the April 20, 2005, Houston Chronicle. In 2004, ExxonMobil made $444,000 per employee—an increase of 317 percent. Over the same period, Conoco increased its profits per employee by 327 percent.

All of the major oil corporations in the United States used to be part of one big monopoly: the Rockefeller-owned Standard Oil. In 1890, Standard Oil owned 90 percent of oil production and sales in the U.S.

In a landmark 1911 trust-busting case, the U.S. Supreme Court broke up Standard Oil into 30 separate oil companies. Standard Oil of New Jersey, with almost half of the total net value of all Standard Oil, became Exxon. Standard Oil of New York, with 9 percent of the company’s net value, became Mobil. Although the court broke up the Standard Oil monopoly, the monopoly tendency reasserted itself and the 30 separate oil companies eventually merged into seven major companies."

article found @;

The outcome of the ChevronTexaco merger includes the recent aquisition of Unocal. However, ChevronTexaco and ConocoPhillips remain seperate entities, although they have joined forces in common goal of petroleum extraction and transport from Iraq and the greater Middle East region, including Central Asia. The Chevron Phillips Chemical Company shows their common goal is evident..

The pipeline through Afghanistan proposed by Unocal is now in the hands of ChevronTexaco, and it remains in the corporation's interest to maintain the ongoing U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan indefinitely, and also Iraq..

"Unocal Advisor Named Representative to Afghanistan"

by Patrick Martin

World Socialist Web Site 3 January 2002,

Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),, 29 January 2002

"President Bush has appointed a former aide to the American oil company Unocal, Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, as special envoy to Afghanistan. The nomination was announced December 31, nine days after the US-backed interim government of Hamid Karzai took office in Kabul.

The nomination underscores the real economic and financial interests at stake in the US military intervention in Central Asia. Khalilzad is intimately involved in the long-running US efforts to obtain direct access to the oil and gas resources of the region, largely unexploited but believed to be the second largest in the world after the Persian Gulf.

As an advisor for Unocal, Khalilzad drew up a risk analysis of a proposed gas pipeline from the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. He participated in talks between the oil company and Taliban officials in 1997, which were aimed at implementing a 1995 agreement to build the pipeline across western Afghanistan."


"After Bush was installed as president by a 5-4 vote of the US Supreme Court, Khalilzad headed the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Defense Department and advised incoming Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Significantly, however, he was not named to a subcabinet position, which would have required Senate confirmation and might have provoked uncomfortable questions about his role as an oil company advisor in Central Asia and intermediary with the Taliban. Instead, he was named to the National Security Council (NSC), where no confirmation vote was needed.

At the NSC Khalilzad reports to Condoleeza Rice, the national security advisor, who also served as an oil company consultant on Central Asia. After serving in the first Bush administration from 1989 to 1992, Rice was placed on the board of directors of Chevron Corporation and served as its principal expert on Kazakhstan, where Chevron holds the largest concession of any of the international oil companies. The oil industry connections of Bush and Cheney are well known, but little has been said in the media about the prominent role being played in Afghan policy by officials who advised the oil industry on Central Asia."

entire article found @;

Hope that clears up the who is who about oil monopolies. Stay tuned..
by DG
Thursday Mar 20th, 2008 8:52 AM
What the author said was "Last year, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company- also known as Conoco Phillips- made over $18 billion in profits." This is simply not true. Chevron Phillips is not "also knows as Conoco Phillips" and the Chevron Phillips joint venture did not make $18 billion last year. Chevron did make that much (if you round up), but that's not the point. I was just pointing out that it's shoddy journalism when you're claiming to know all about the sins and transgressions of a company and you can't even get that company's name right.