The facility also houses a petrochemical plant which produces lubricants and additives and a polypropylene plant which produces over 775 million pounds per year of polypropylene. The refinery has its own railway container terminal and heliport.
In 1911, Standard Oil was broken up into smaller units in accordance the Sherman Antitrust Act. One of these successor companies was Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, the precursor to Esso and later Exxon, which retained the ownership of the Bayway facilities.
Bayway became a leading research facility within the S.O. New Jersey enterprise. It was the first facility in the United States to employ the use of hydrogenation process to get greater yields from their crude products, and in 1919, scientists at Bayway created the world's first petrochemical: isopropyl alcohol.
The Ethyl Corporation, a joint venture of General Motors and Standard Oil, built a plant for the manufacture of tetra-ethyl lead (the "lead" in leaded gasoline) at the refinery over the course of three months in 1924. Within the first two months of its operation, the facility had seventeen cases of severe lead poisoning leading to hallucinations and insanity, and then five deaths in quick succession. The plant was shut down by the State of New Jersey in October, and Standard was forbidden to manufacture TEL there again without state permission.
In the years leading up to World War II, the plant was upgraded and optimized to secure the defense of the country. On December 12, 1941, in response to the formation of the Axis powers, Bayway went dark, the blackout was instituted to protect the facility from enemy attack; it would last until the end of the war. During World War II, the plant constructed its first catalytic cracker, or "cat cracker", which went into operation on January 18, 1943. This development proved essential to the production of fuel to support the Allied war effort, especially high octane aviation fuel, and also allowed the production of synthetic butyl rubber and materials used to manufacture explosives.
After the war, the usage of coal for heating declined sharply in the United States. In 1947, Esso invested $26 million in a refinery expansion program to meet an increased post-war demand for gasoline and heating oil, and constructed a second, much larger catalytic cracker with an initial processing capacity of , replacing the original 1943 unit. The "Cat" came online in October of 1949 and was the largest in the world during the twentieth century, and as of 2008 was the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
The Enjay Chemical Plant, a petrochemical production facility, was launched at the refinery by the Exxon Chemical Company (an Esso subsidiary) in 1965. In 1973, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was renamed Exxon, and the facility likewise became known as the Exxon Bayway Refinery.
1976 brought about the installation of the most iconic structure at the refinery, the Wet Gas Scrubber. Visible from the New Jersey Turnpike with its giant plumes of water vapor, this device eliminates 7-8 tons of dust per day as well as gases generated from the catlytic cracking process. To this day it is recognized as one of the most effiecient and effective units of its kind in the world.
On April 8, 1993, the Tosco Corporation finalized proceedings to purchase the refinery from Exxon for a sum of $175 million, although the Exxon Chemical Company continued to run the Chemical Plant. During this time Bayway was operated by Bayway Refining Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tosco Corporation. Under the direction of Tosco and through a series of upgrades, Bayway was able to reorganize and years of operating at a loss for Exxon in the lateer 1980's were turned around swiftly.
The Morristown and Erie Railway became the contract switcher for the refinery in 1995, and set up the Bayshore Terminal Company to handle the management of 8,000 railroad cars full of various refinery products each year.
In 1999, the Infineum company (a joint project of Exxon Chemical, Shell International Chemicals and Shell Chemical) took over operation of the Chemical Plant. Infineum researches and produces crankcase lubricant additives, fuel additives, and specialty lubricant additives, as well as automatic transmission fluids, gear oils, and industrial oils.
In 2003 a new polypropylene facility went online that produces 775 million pounds per year.
ConocoPhillips will take the following actions at their Bayway facilities:
COURT REJECTS LATEST EFFORT BY EXXONMOBIL TO LIMIT ITS EXPOSURE FOR NATURAL RESOURCE DAMAGES CAUSED BY REFINERY OPERATIONS
Aug 13, 2009; TRENTON, N.J., Aug. 11 -- The New Jersey Attorney General issued the following news release: A Superior Court Judge has rejected...