Phillips 66 shutting down refinery in Nipomo

September 25, 2022


Phillips 66 on Friday announced plans to shut its refinery in Nipomo during the first quarter of 2023.

For more than 60 years, the 1,780-acre Santa Maria Refinery next to Highway 1 on the Nipomo Mesa has processed crude oil. Only about 200 acres is used for refinery purposes. The remaining approximately 1,600 acres is grazed by cattle, held as open space or used as a preservation area for wildlife in the Nipomo Dunes.

The refinery currently enlists 78 employees and 53 contractors. Phillips 66 is offering those losing their jobs employment at their other locations.

For more than a decade, Phillips 66 attempted to expand its refinery in Nipomo. Then in 2017, the SLO County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to shoot down Phillips 66’s proposed rail spur project.

Phillips 66 wanted to build a rail spur so that crude oil delivered by pipeline could be transported to the Nipomo Mesa refinery by train. The proposed project faced fierce opposition from local residents, as well as environmental activists.

The plan was for a maximum of 150 trains a year to pass through SLO County to the Mesa refinery. Each train would consist of up to 80 railcars, which could each transport about 27,300 gallons of oil.

Two years ago, Phillips 66 first announced plans to shutter the Nipomo refinery.

Then in May, Phillips 66 made a decision to convert its San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, Calif. into one of the world’s largest renewable fuels facilities, an action related to the shutdown of the refinery in Nipomo. The Rodeo facility will no longer process crude oil and instead use waste oils, fats, greases and vegetable oils to produce an initial 800 million gallons per year of renewable transportation fuels, including renewable diesel, renewable gasoline and sustainable aviation fuel.

Before remediation work at the Nipomo site can begin, Phillips 66 needs to secure permits from San Luis Obispo County and several regulatory agencies. Phillips 66 expects the remediation process to take several years.

“Phillips 66 has been honored to be a valued part of this community and we will continue to be an excellent neighbor as we decommission and demolish the refinery, as well as continue with our environmental remediation activities,” Phillips 66 said in its announcement. “You can learn more about the project and its timeline here.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The refinery has been there for yrs. when there wasn’t anything around it then but people moved in the area and wanted it gone well you should not of moved or built things there if you didn’t like it in the first place. Would you like someone from the back of the line you have been in forever come up and say you have to move as i don’t like you in front of me ?

Pardon me for correcting you, but the truth is there was a Recreation Area and a sensitive environmental habitat in the area before the refinery was built.

Poor location for a refinery. Let’s not any more promote building pollutant spewing heavy industry adjacent to a Recreation Area and sensitive environmental habitat and above a water table.

Welp, looks like the rich golf course home owners from Los Angeles and the Bay Area won and all those head of house hold jobs will disappear. Good job San Luis Obisbo county Board of Supervisors! Destroy the little guy!

SLO Countys’ goal to have no industry, only low paying unskilled labor or government jobs is almost complete. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when the Democrats get through no one will have any tourist dollars available to tip you the 10 percent you’ve been living off.

Good. Maybe now residents of Nipomo Mesa will get a trail that leads to the beach, something that former county supervisor Lynn Compton opposed, insisting for years that the public should not impose on the refinery’s property in any manner (even though a safe trail could be created that would have not impeded any of the refinery processes.)

Great! No additional train cars every other day! Instead, how many new houses will be infilled on the 1,780 acres to fund our money hungry State? The ocean temperature controlled environment will facilitate an all electric city, possibly with a all electric vehicle HOA requirement. Just peachy, no youth, no poverty, no fast food and if you wonder what the answer to your questions are, you can assume it will be no. Will there be enough electricity, well you know the answer to that and it will be somebody else’s problem anyway.

This reminds me of the proposed quarry near Santa Margarita, Too much traffic, a couple hundred vehicles daily if there is a peak demand, the county shut it down but guess what, the County of San Luis Obispo is coercing to expand The town of Santa Margarita (10 fold), just read the notice that nobody pays attention to in their water bill. Stupidity is endemic in our county, not to say we shouldn’t have some growth but why the home owners are volunteering, through their negligence, to have less and pay more is very troubling to me.

And, Oh My God, what happened to this affordable great place to live with no parking lot traffic. For STARTERS you can blame the “stare and compare” pay raises that local government leadership has afforded themselves.

It’s surrounded by farm lands; likely to be bought up and converted to that use. Appreciate the wacky scenario though; always entertaining.

Again, The document inserted within everybody’s water bill has a sentence which reads: ” Tract 2586 consists of approximately 3,778 acres southeast of Santa Margarita, bordering Pozo Road to its west”.

Yes the next line infers the approved subdivision will consist of 111 homes but what it does not explain how a approved “stand alone” ag cluster project, not a part of Santa Margarita, is today a proposed annexation to The Town of Santa Margarita. Just incase there is a cynical skeptical belief in what I type, then explain the water line extension that has already been constructed to a non-existing annexation.

We must not forget that the County unilaterally abandoned the 200 acre-feet of Santa Margarita Lake recharge water that the Santa Margarita taxpayers have made benefit of for 50 years. I see a forced water shortage, that which will result in a water quality issue so that a sewer system will be mandated. This scenario will require expanded development to fund a very expensive project that currently has no potential location within the foot print of the approximately 330 acre Town of Santa Margarita.



Come on George, new housing around Santa Margarita is inevitable and will take decades. 800+ trucks a day hauling rocks from Pozo to the 101 is a different story. Housing prices will plunge. Many of our new young residents with families will immediately beat feet.

Anyway, what exactly does it have to do with Phillips 66 on the mesa? Houses have been steadily going into that area for years. Doesn’t seem to be an issue, other than to the wealthy NIMBY’s who live nearby.

Phillips sees the writing on the wall. It is a dying industry and is smart to pivot to renewable energy sites.

Skewed numbers serve your comment, Fact: No matter what, I make money but concerns stem from the fact that many need to protect their ability to enjoy their quality of life. Yes there will be more home but under the control of whom ever buys the entitlements that the local profiteers sell to. Poof we are now what we moved away from.

I was referring to the Phillips 66 property in Nipomo…

Farming, in California?? More regulation with farming then ever. Farming in California these days is a millionaires hobby. Look no further then Madonna’s Ranch for sale – This is a 360 acre family ranch that was owned by my dad, Alex Madonna. We are selling it because of complicated circumstances. We’re just trying to not have it cut up & put into hundreds of homes. It has 7 certified parcels which can be built on with a shop & granny unit without being put into the city. It’s currently zoned agriculture but can stay that way with these certified parcels. If someone lives in the city (LA or San Francisco area) and would like to live OUT of the city and have a get-away home to go to, this would be it. It’s 5 minutes from downtown San Luis Obispo yet is out in the country. Truly a getaway paradise! It also encompasses about 25 acres of the beautiful Laguna Lake, so it literally has “lake front” property. Please feel free to give me a call if interested. My name is Cathie Twisselman & my cell phone is 805-748-3344. Thank you!!!

Hold on tight, we have a rough ride ahead of us. Oh, hold onto you nose, the stench is getting worse every single day.