Government investment in Texas City also encouraged innovation. Southport, Pan American and Republic used processes so new that only a few research scientists possessed the necessary knowledge to oversee them.1 But new training techniques — a core staff of skilled employees was trained at each plant — and the relative simplicity of mass-production methods helped stem the need for long apprenticeships.2
In 1942, the Pan American Texas City refinery was the first to use a fluid catalytic cracking process in its 20-story catalytic cracker. This efficiently produced 100 % high-octane aviation fuel. That gave the plant the ability to produce higher quality fuel in larger amounts at a faster rate. Pan American's method of refining was soon adopted by all other aviation fuel refineries aiding the war effort.3
1Price, Mamie. (1945). The History of Texas City. Texas City, TX: City of Texas City, 22.
2Bailey, Ronald H. (1977). The home front: U.S.A. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 85.
3Benham, Priscilla. (1987). Texas City: Port of industrial opportunity. Houston, TX: University of Houston, 251-252.