"Everyone was taking pictures of it," writes Daniel Johnston of Camano Island, WA.  --  "I noted the unfairness of this.  Here I was trapped in handcuffs in the back of a cruiser watching everyone but me take pictures of my car at the oil refinery which is what I set out to do and was currently in trouble for.  I payed special attention to the reaction of the man that I figured to be the Fed as he took photos.  His reaction was the dreaded head shake with pursed lips.  I knew I was in definite trouble now."  --  It all goes to show that like water, art cars don't mix well with oil.  --  Humor and common sense, either, in this Age of Terrorism.  --  Daniel Johnston tells a how creative and entrepreneurial spirit led him to find himself handcuffed in the back of a sheriff's car in Anacortes last week.  --  We've posted a photo of the art car that got him into trouble here.  --  For more details on how the search for "a cool spacey looking backdrop for the pictures of [your] car" can land you in the hands of the Feds, read his detailed account, written with a wry eye for detail and posted here with permission.[1]  --  But Johnston, who faces a day in court on Jul. 17, is in luck.  --  Fortunately for him, the Tesoro Corporation lists among its "values and visions" a commitment to... "creative and entrepreneurial spirit."[2]  --  Right.  --  BACKGROUND:  The Tesoro Corporation is a major oil refiner, having given up its upstream activities.  --  It is now the second-largest refiner on the West Coast.  --  Its products are marketed mostly in the western U.S., sometimes under the brand name Shell; the refinery in Anacortes formerly belonged to Shell.[3]  --  You can see a picture of the Anacortes refinery, where Daniel Johnston was arrested on Jul. 5, 2007, here, or examine an aerial view of the facility here (but don't look too closely, you might get arrested).  --  Or you can read Tesoro's description of the Anacortes refinery, which has a capacity to refine 115,000 barrels of crude oil a day, about 20% of Tesoro's total capacity.[4]  --  Tesoro was founded (with only a $1,000 investment, it is said) in 1964 by Robert V. West Jr., a petrochemical engineer widely regarded as an entrepreneur of heroic proportions; West died in 2006 at the age of 85.  --  Tesoro's revenues are now on the order of $12 billion a year.  --  Tesoro is a major client of Halliburton, and in March Tesoro CEO Bruce A. Smith and Jeb Bush were the speakers in San Antonio, Texas, where Tesoro is headquartered, at a luncheon given by the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.  --  Tesoro has done well in the Bush years:  if you'd invested $1,000 in Tesoro five years ago, you'd have $18,357 today.  --  For more on art cars, see Wikipedia or the DMOZ open directory page....


By Daniel Johnston

July 2007

CAMANO ISLAND, Washington -- Wow. Do I ever have a story for you...

I took the day after the Fourth of July off.

On my way back from my friends place in Seattle I decided to use this new digital camera that I bought to take a few pictures of my art car.

I spent the past few weeks adding fins and spacey things to the outside to try to push it into the spacey realm more so the general public would find it less frightening and more amusing. It was never my intention for it to be scary or anything. I was just trying to go for a space pirate skirmish vehicle. I like how some of the first democratic organizations on the planet were pirate ships. The captains were generally voted in and they could even be voted out I think... I digress...

I live on Camano Island. Around Marysville I called my friend Scot and asked for advice on what might make a cool spacey looking backdrop for the pictures of my car. I was thinking that maybe an industrial-type thing with pipes and tanks and the like would be cool. He suggested maybe going to Anacortes would be good because there are some huge factories that can be seen from the freeway there. He didn't know how to get to them exactly but said that I should be able to find my way since they were so huge. He also mentioned that there was a store off the freeway that sold hundreds of concrete yard sculptures that might interesting to photograph with my new camera. I ended up stopping at the yard sculpture place and it was really great. I took a lot of photos of the mishmash of religious figures from the East and West mixed with pagodas, garden gnomes, and pure Americana kitsch. Got some great shots. I left enough space on my camera to take a few shots of the car and was on my way.

I ended up seeing a really nice big scary-looking factory a couple miles after that and started making my way toward it. It was fairly easy since there were huge smokestacks with a lot of steam coming out of them. I ended up approaching the place from along the water. It was situated across from some really interesting mud flats. I thought it was an interesting balance between the huge complex of industrial nightmare to the east and the natural beauty of the flats and bay to the west. I found what seemed to be the main entrance. There was a big official looking sign. It said something about the use and sale of illegal drugs. I assumed that it was directed at the workers so I went past it and made my way toward what looked like the offices of the complex. I drove past a huge truck coming the opposite direction, what looked like an abandoned guard post, and then pulled up to the offices. There was no one around. I had planned on asking someone if it would be OK for me to take the car photos but I couldn't find anyone and no one came to the doors that I knocked on. I decided to just leave at this point.

Unfortunately what I hadn't noticed on the way in was there was a gate that had apparently opened for the huge truck to get out of the complex. As I drove toward the abandoned guard post I saw the gate finish closing on me. I remember thinking at this point that there might be a problem. I remember saying to myself, "Great. Now I'm trespassing." I really had no choice but to go back the parking area by the offices and wait for security. Security arrived a couple minutes later. I explained to them that I'd accidentally trapped myself on the complex and had no idea that there was a gate there until it was closing on me. I told them about the plan to take pictures of my car with the facility as a backdrop and that I was mostly just interested in leaving now that I realized that I'd trapped myself. I had no intention of trespassing. The gate was totally open when I came in and I had no idea that it was even there. It hadn't occurred to me that what I had accidentally driven onto was the grounds of an oil refinery. There were these signs saying something about cement trucks on the way in so I thought originally that it was a cement factory or something.

Security was fairly helpful and understanding, initially. They made some calls to get the key that would let me out the gate. Unfortunately, somehow their supervisor heard about this strange car with guns on it that had driven onto the grounds. Just as they were opening the gate for me the call came in to detain me and get all of my information. I gave them all of my info and drove the car back by the offices. They said they were going to do a background check on me and I figured when that came back clean they would just let me go. It turned out that I was very wrong to think this.

I called Scot and thanked him for the suggestion of the factory and told him that I was now the prisoner of the Tesoro oil company. I told him that I'd call him once they let me go.

I sat around my car for a little while and eventually gave the tour to some workers that showed up, either to keep me from leaving or just out of interest in the freak that had driven a road warrior car onto the grounds. They were fairly affable and we joked around for a bit about what big trouble I was in. They thought the car was mostly just funny. One even went and got me a cookie and a soda when I mentioned that I hadn't eaten anything yet and was feeling kind of low blood sugar. I overheard on the security radio that the sheriff was on the way. He got there soon after. This is where the fun stopped.

All that the sheriff had heard was that some suspected terrorist had driven onto the Tesoro oil refinery grounds with guns on his car. When he showed up he was greeted with a somewhat freaky-looking guy wearing mostly black leaning on a car with skull and crossbones on the door surrounded by factory workers.

I found out later that he had driven there at about 120 mph. He was the only person to respond to this "terrorist threat" and backup was minutes away. I'm thinking that his adrenaline was probably going pretty good at this point.

He ordered me to put whatever was in my hands down (a half-eaten peanut butter cookie and a Pepsi -- my god -- I just remembered that the guy actually gave me the choice between Coke and Pepsi! He brought both -- I chose Pepsi for the higher sugar content) and empty my pockets. I did so. He then said to walk slowly backwards toward him.

I believe that the backwards walk toward him was most likely the longest walk in my life. He had parked a good distance away. About forty feet, I guess. I remember thinking of all the inventive ways there are to take someone down with a billy club that I had seen in the movies. He had been so forceful and psychologically scary and really just unexpected that I expected something really nasty was about to happen.

I was somewhat relieved when the first cuff went on. He stood me next to the cruiser and removed my shoes. This took some doing. The shoes I was wearing have strange buckles on them and people full of adrenaline probably shouldn't try to operate them with one hand especially whilst holding suspected terrorists by the cuffs with their other hand.

After removing my shoes it was into the back of the cruiser. I was surprised to find that he had the radio going on a classic rock station. I busied myself by trying to get the cuffs behind my back to be comfortable and then decided that I might as well make the most of it and examine as much as I could of the cruiser. The first notable feature (besides the radio) was the seat design. At first it looked as if the seats were designed for maximum uncomfortability with all sorts of strange bumps and channels and hard plastic unfriendliness that says to anyone sitting in them: "You're screwed, Jack -- better get used to it." On closer inspection I realized that the seats were actually ergonomically designed so that people with their hands cuffed behind their backs would have little channels for their arms to go in. I thought this was a nice feature. The rest of the car was pretty much as imagined. Slight smell of dried piss, Plexiglas window, everything designed to be hosed out at the end of the day if needed and all the while classic hits playing. I think "Juke Box Hero" was playing when I was originally thrown in there.

Then came the waiting... and waiting... I watched the sheriff question everyone around the car. A couple of the workers left and sort of threw their hands up toward me -- like, "Well, I'd help if I could but there's really nothing I can do -- I'm at work."

Eventually (about twenty minutes later by the clock in the cruiser) the sheriff came back and read my Miranda rights. He asked me some questions about what I was doing on oil refinery grounds. He took all my information and Scot's number (thank god -- alibi!) and all that. I explained that I was basically just an idiot that had accidentally trapped myself there trying to get some pictures of my car in front of the factory. I asked him what was going to happen to me.

He said that I was going to jail and would be put "on a list" and would probably not be able to cross the border any more and that the Feds were on the way. I must admit that at this time I broke down. I have friends in Canada and the thought of not being able to visit them mixed with the knowledge that this was definitely one of those Patriot Act-type situations that you hear horrible stories about was just too much. To my credit I shed just one tear. This was partially because I was really really trying to keep my wits about me and partially because logistically at the time I couldn't figure out how I was going to dry my face with my hands all cuffed up behind my back.

Here's a tip for you that find yourself in this situation -- use your knee. It takes some doing but it works excellently for scratching noses, wiping tears, etc. Practice makes perfect.

The sheriff went away for a few more minutes (probably so I could compose myself without an audience). When he returned he took me out of the cruiser and loosened the handcuffs. He put the locks on them so they wouldn't tighten up again. He put the air conditioning on in the cruiser and asked me if it was getting to the back seat and all. It was fairly obvious that he believed me about just being an idiot. In about another half hour he asked me if I had any weapons of any sort in the car and asked if they could search it. I recall that the list of weapons was slowly making it's way up from knives to rocket launchers. I decided to test his humor. I told him that I'd left my rocket launcher at home. He smiled. I can deal with people that have a sense of humor. People with no sense of humor are definitely a problem with me because I live most of my life like a comedy of errors.

After one and a half hours of classic rock and general painful boredom in the back of the cruiser the Feds arrived.

They had no sense of humor.

They took their time questioning the group that the sheriff had questioned earlier, searched the car top to bottom, and took a lot of pictures of every detail of it right down to television antennae that I stuck on the back as a sort of communications array. Actually pretty much everyone was taking pictures of it. I noted the unfairness of this. Here I was trapped in handcuffs in the back of a cruiser watching everyone but me take pictures of my car at the oil refinery which is what I set out to do and was currently in trouble for. I payed special attention to the reaction of the man that I figured to be the Fed as he took photos. His reaction was the dreaded head shake with pursed lips. I knew I was in definite trouble now.

Some people don't get my car. Their brains just aren't wired for it. It's not their fault. They just don't really live in the same world that I do. Whether it's a reaction coming from living in a world of general fear that television news and general propaganda has put them in or just that when they see things that look like guns they associate them with killing or bad experiences in their past or in this case most likely military training (the special agent tuned out to be Coast Guard intelligence) they can't see it for what it is -- a very big spaceship model kit for an overgrown kid.

Forty minutes later I was talking to a Fed. He had a very confused look on his face. He didn't get it. Eventually I told him that I was a Sci-Fi geek. The car wasn't serious or meant to be taken seriously. It was supposed to be a spaceship. It was an elaborate joke. Thankfully his next question was: "So you're like a Star Wars fan?" Thank you, George Lucas! I take back most of what I said about your last three films. You have made it so the general public has an awareness of science fiction. This includes special agents with no sense of humor...

So eventually they let me go. I asked the special agent if I would be having trouble crossing the Canadian border in the future and he said "No... should you???" I was driven (still cuffed two and a half hours later) to the Mount Vernon police station where I received the honor of being fingerprinted and mugshotted (they don't make you turn to the left!) and eventually ticketed for second-degree criminal trespass. I have a court date on the seventeenth of the month. My car was impounded (see attached photo). It cost me $403 dollars to get it back (thank you Scot! I'll pay you back!). Not really sure if I need a lawyer. I'll call and consult the court about that, probably tomorrow.

So the Moral of the story is... let's see... Keep your scary art car away from oil refineries even if you plan to ask who's in charge for permission to take photos. It turns out that you aren't even allowed to take photos of this type of thing even from outside the gates anymore. Pay special attention to gate systems. Don't ever get yourself trapped on the grounds of oil refineries. IF you do manage to do this be VERY Cooperative with the authorities. The authorities have it in their power to ruin your life. Why not just have a ruined afternoon and bank account instead? Works for me! Let's see... anything else? Ah yes... George Lucas is a national treasure... he may be pretty bad at dialogue but he seems to have saved my butt this time. God bless 'im.



Tesoro Corporation


Source: Tesoro Corporation Tesoro Corporation’s vision is to create opportunities that exceed yesterday’s successes and maximize our potential.

We endeavor to do this by creating a geographically focused, value-added refining and marketing business whose success is driven by four primary factors: economies of scale, a low cost structure, superior management information systems, and outstanding employees focused on business excellence.

Our success is measured not just by the value we bring to our customers and shareholders, but in remaining true to our own company’s core values:

• Honesty and integrity
• Respect and trust
• Commitment to excellence
• Creative and entrepreneurial spirit
• Teamwork
• Safety and environmental stewardship


[News release]


Tesoro Corporation
May 11, 2007

Source: Tesoro Corporation

SAN ANTONIO -- Tesoro Corporation (NYSE:TSO) announced today that it has completed the purchase of Shell’s 100,000 barrel per day Los Angeles refinery and 278 operating stations. All 278 retail sites will remain Shell branded and will be supplied by Tesoro.

Tesoro assumes operational control of the refinery and will begin to takeover responsibility for the operations of the retail locations on Friday, May 11th. The total purchase price is $1.76 billion which includes $213 million for estimated inventories. The company financed the purchase, along with fees approximating $33 million with $589 million in cash, $500 million on the upsized $1.75 billion revolver, and the remainder on an interim loan facility.

Tesoro Corporation, a Fortune 150 Company, is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products. Tesoro operates seven refineries in the western United States with a combined capacity of approximately 660,000 barrels per day. Tesoro’s retail-marketing system includes over 880 retail outlets, of which 464 are company owned locations.


Scott Phipps, Manager, Investor Relations, (210) 283-2882

Natalie Silva, Manager, Media Relations, (210) 219-8189


Our business


Source: Tesoro Corporation

Acquired by Tesoro in 1998, the Anacortes refinery primarily supplies gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel to markets in Washington, Oregon, and California. The refinery receives its crude feedstock via pipeline from Canada, and by tanker from Alaska and foreign sources.

Anacortes is a complex, high-conversion operation that can produce approximately 85 percent gasoline and middle distillates, including significant amounts of the cleaner-burning CARB gasoline required in California. The facility also is capable of producing the low-sulfur diesel mandated for use in California.

REFINERY OPERATIONS The plant has a fluid catalytic cracker (FCC), alkylation, hydrotreating, vacuum distillation, and catalytic reformer units. A number of capital projects in recent years have made the Anacortes refinery an even more valuable asset by giving it more flexibility on choice of feedstocks as well as the ability to make additional products. In 2002, we completed a heavy-oil conversion project, which allows the refinery to process a larger proportion of lower-cost heavy crude oils, while producing a larger proportion of higher-value products. A distillate treater also was installed allowing the refinery to increase production of low-sulfur diesel and jet fuels.

As an example of the synergies we capitalize on among our refineries, the Anacortes plant provides fuel oil to the Kapolei facility to blend with heavy oils to make quality fuel for the Hawaiian power-generation market. The Hawaii refinery also sends heavy gas oil, which it cannot process, to the Anacortes refinery, for upgrading in that facility’s catalytic cracking unit. This give-and-take arrangement, in which one facility’s residual is another’s feedstock, is key to balancing the Tesoro refinery system so that it can operate at maximum efficiency.


The Anacortes refinery has won recognition for operating in harmony with the environment -- an important consideration given its location near Washington State’s beautiful San Juan Islands. An environmental project underway at the facility is the construction of a state-of-the-art emission control system to reduce air emissions from the Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU). Known as a Wet Gas Scrubber, the system will treat the flue gas from the FCCU to remove small particles, also known as particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide before they are emitted to the atmosphere. The $24 million scrubber is scheduled to be operational by April 2006. The current average sulfur dioxide emissions from the FCCU to the atmosphere will be reduced by 95 percent, a reduction of more than 4,100 tons (or more than eight million pounds) per year. Particulate matter will be reduced by 75 percent, or around 580 tons (more than one million pounds) per year.

When Tesoro made plans to implement this project to meet the requirements of a rule adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce airborne particle emissions, the company voluntarily chose to install a technology that simultaneously reduces sulfur dioxide emissions even though this scrubbing technology costs nearly twice as much as the equipment that would have only removed the particulate material.

Another environmental initiative at the Anacortes refinery is the unique EAGLES program -- Environmental Awareness Group Learning Environmental Solutions. This group of employee volunteers sponsors and coordinate a wide range of programs benefiting the environment, including roadside litter cleanup, Earth Day commemorations, and ongoing communications on environmental topics to other plant employees. The refinery has also been honored by a Washington State regulatory agency for voluntarily producing a special gasoline blend that reduces air pollution from cars in the Seattle metropolitan area.

Our Anacortes employees are closely involved with the surrounding Skagit Valley community. You’ll find Tesoro people involved in a wide range of community activities from scouts to Little League to children’s theater. The plant also has been a Pacesetter for the local United Way campaign.

One of the most popular volunteer activities sponsored by our Anacortes refinery is the March Point Run. The event, which includes a kids’ fun run, a 5K and a 10K run, annually attracts about 300 runners. The race is staffed by Tesoro employee volunteers, who handle everything from registration to setting up water stations to cooking the post-race meals.


Rated crude oil capacity: 115,000 barrels per day

Product slate: Gasoline, CARB gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, middle distillates, heavy crude oils, distillate asphalt

Feedstocks: Crude oils sourced primarily from Alaska, Canada and Southeast Asia

Acreage and location: 917 acres, located about 60 miles north of Seattle

Number of employees: Approximately 350