At a budgeted cost of $503 million, the Golden Eagle refinery (near San Francisco)coker modification project enables the company to comply with an abatement order signed with the California air quality regulators to significantly reduce air emissions. It also enhances shareholder value by increasing the refinery’s capabilities while reducing operating costs. It is currently scheduled to be substantially completed during the first quarter of 2008.
The modifications consist of converting the Coker from a fluid coking technology to a delayed coker technology. The delayed coker process is inherently cleaner than fluid coking because the coke particles that are produced as a byproduct of the process are collected in drums and removed in solid form, instead of being emitted in the exhaust gases from the process, which can result in coke particulate being released into the atmosphere. The modifications also involve other elements that will benefit air quality and public health, including (i) a change from burning coker exhaust gas to provide heat for the coking process to burning cleaner refinery fuel gas (RFG) or natural gas; (ii) the routing of pressure relief devices that currently vent unabated directly into the atmosphere to a gas recovery system or to a safety flare; and (iii) a switch from anhydrous ammonia currently used in the Selective Catalytic Reduction (“SCR”) system at the No. 5 Boiler to aqueous ammonia, which is inherently safer.
The modified Coker will have the same maximum capacity as the existing fluid Coker of 53,200 barrels per stream day (BPSD) (24 hours/day), and an annual average of 47,800 barrels per calendar day (BPCD) (365 days/yr) to match the existing Title V permit limit. The overall emissions from the delayed coker are decreased due to burning cleaner fuel (refinery fuel gas (RFG) and natural gas) instead of coke in the specialized coker’s burner, which created particulates and caused gray or black plumes when the No. 5 Boiler has a process upset or tube failure in the past.