Port Arthur, TX is Home to the Largest Oil Refinery in North America

Motiva Enterprises operates the largest oil refinery in North America. It is located in Port Arthur, Texas. It was one of the first oil and gas processing sites built and optimized for the Spindletop oil boom in 1902. The refinery processes chemical compounds, including tight oil, heavy oil, sour and acid crude. It also supplies diesel, aviation fuel, and base oils for U.S. customers.

In 1989, Motiva Refinery came under a split venture operation called the Star Enterprise. Resulting in Saudi Refining, Inc. purchased half its shares. However, Chevron later purchased Texaco. This resulted in Shell Oil Products U.S. acquiring the refinery interest held by Chevron.

About 1,200 employees are working at the refinery in Port Arthur. On May 21st, 2012, further expansion of capacity and operations were completed. Thus, leading to an increase in the facility’s crude oil capacity to 630,000 barrels per day. This has pretty much doubled its previous capacity. Due to this vastness, there are many situations in which workers can have a catastrophic accident.

Did you or a loved one suffer injuries from an accident at the Port Arthur refinery? Do not hesitate to retain the services of Williams Hart & Boundas’s attorney. Our legal team will fight fiercely for the compensation that you deserve.


Meet our Attorney

​​We are here for you! ​
​Contact us for a 100% free case evaluation with no obligation to sign up.


Motiva Refinery has a history of catastrophic accidents caused by corporate negligence. There are at least five fatal accidents that have occurred to date at this refinery. These acts of recklessness have landed the oil enterprise in the courtroom to face responsibility for the damages they’ve caused.

  • Motiva uses hydrogen in the production of its low sulfur gasoline. On December 8th, 2009, an accident in the hydrogen line operated by Praxair Inc. caused an explosion. This resulted in the closure of the unit. There were ten employees present when the accident happened. However, there were no injuries.
  • On April 18th, 2010, a 41-year-old man died as a result of massive head injuries sustained in an accident at the refinery. The Port Arthur Justice of the Peace at that time stated that it was the worst incident of negligence that he had seen.
  • Later in June 2012, two fires erupted.
  • Workers also reported a toxic vapor leak from a tank that set off a chain reaction. As a result, this caused a speedup of corrosion of pipes and equipment from the caustic substances. The damage was so bad it resulted in the refinery remaining closed for several months.
  • In July 2015, a catalytic reformer caught fire; but caused no injuries.
Jim Hart
Jim Hart


Since its inception, Motiva has had several lawsuits filed against it. The nature of these lawsuits varies. Some involve pollution of the environment and failure to protect its workers adequately. For example, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and other authorities filed a lawsuit against them in 2008. The reason you see was evidence indicating that they were polluting the Alligator Bayou. This area located beside the Port Arthur Refinery is a nature and watershed preservation area. As a result of their negligence, they had to pay a $1,200,000 settlement.

In January 2015, the EPA filed a lawsuit against their parent company, Equilon Enterprises. This lawsuit was in violation of the Clean Air Act. A health and safety inquiry was conducted and revealed elevated ethanol levels. This is a violation of the gasoline and sulfur volatility standards. They were also in violation of poor record-keeping and testing compliance. They also failed to report environmental and toxic compound sampling adequately. As a result of these violations, the parent company had a civil penalty of $900.000.


The Port Arthur area ranks high in just about every national pollution statistic. The city and surrounding counties are among the top 10 percent for major chemical releases. Residents and workers are at risk of developing cancer. They are also exposed to levels of toxins that could interfere with fetal development. This elevated level of pollution is due to the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery.

In 2003 the Refinery adopted the label of the largest polluter in the Port Arthur area. They released over 15.5 million pounds of pollutants. The chemicals released in the atmosphere are carcinogens, which can cause cancer in humans. These toxic chemicals included benzene and chloroform. The local residential area was severely impacted and suffered numerous health issues.

Over the years, they had several situations of accidental release of toxic chemicals into the air. In 2002, they had two incidents. The first was 1,149,069 pounds of toxins released into the air. And in another situation, 8,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide from a flared vent. On April 14, 2003, another accidental release of 274,438 pounds of air contaminants. The air pollutants released are toxic to humans and have a significant impact on the environment.

Jim Hart
learn more about refinery explosions

Were you or a loved one injured in an explosion? Or did you or a loved one experienced toxic exposure at or near the Port Arthur Motiva Refinery? You should know our legal team is ready to fight for you. Williams Hart & Boundas law firm has represented many clients in wrongful death and injury cases. We have fought and won cases against Texas’s negligent oil refineries. When you hire us, you’ll receive the knowledge and resources it takes to hold these massive corporations accountable.

Too often, massive corporations escape being held accountable for their negligent actions. This has often left many victims to face mounting hospital expenses, among other costs. With this in mind, you must not sign an agreement or settlement with any oil or gas corporation. It is in your best interest that you contact one of our experienced refinery explosion lawyers. Contact us today to schedule your confidential and free legal consultation.