The petroleum industry gained a major foothold on the Kenai Peninsula with the discovery of the Swanson River oil field in 1957, but the industrial complex along the Kenai Spur Highway in Nikiski did not start up until Chevron opened its oil refinery in 1963.
Now owned and operated by San Antonio, Texas-based Tesoro, the refinery has a capacity of processing 72,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
In 1968, Unocal opened the largest fertilizer plant on the west coast using Cook Inlet natural gas to manufacture urea and ammonia. The Nikiski plant is now owned by Agrium, which is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Also in the Nikiski industrial complex is a liquefied natural gas plant operated by ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil Company. Last year, the plant produced 1.3 million metric tons of LNG which was sold to Japan.
BP began production of its Nikiski gas-to-liquids plant in July 2003, testing GTL technology used to convert methane gas into high-quality, clean-burning synthetic crude oil.
Most of the offshore oil production platforms in Cook Inlet, which can be seen from a number of vantage points in Nikiski, are owned and operated by Chevron Oil Company.
Other companies operating in the inlet are Conoco-Phillips, Marathon, XTO Energy and Forest Oil.
Standing onshore, the platforms from left to right (south to north) are Osprey, Dillon, Platform C and Platform A.
A little farther offshore are Dolly Varden, Steelhead, Baker, Grayling, King Salmon and Monopod. Farther north are Spurr and Spark, followed by the trio, Granite Point, Anna and Bruce.
The farthest north platform is Tyonek.
The Osprey platform, which is the newest, was set in 2000 and is now owned by Forest Oil.
XTO Energy owns Platform C and Platform A, which is the oldest in the inlet, having been set in 1964.
Marathon owns Spurr and Spark, and ConocoPhillips owns the Tyonek platform.
The remaining 10 of 16 platforms are owned by Chevron.
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