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March 30, 2006 at 11:37 pm #4221
Sulfur dioxide emissions reduced 90% in 12 years, refinery official says
By CLAIR JOHNSON
Of The Gazette StaffA $325 million coker project at the CHS refinery in Laurel got the green light from the state this week.
With no appeals filed by Monday’s deadline, the air quality permit from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality became final and went in the mail Tuesday.
Work will begin right away, said Greg Brown, the refinery’s environmental, health and safety manager.
The coker project, along with other modifications, is the biggest in the refinery’s history and will make the plant more competitive with the valley’s two other oil refineries, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil, both of which have cokers, Brown said.
A coker breaks down heavier oils into lighter petroleum products and produces coke as a fuel byproduct.
The CHS coker will allow it to make more gasoline and diesel by processing a portion of its asphalt stream without increasing the amount of crude oil refined, Brown said. The refinery will continue to make smaller amounts of asphalt.
The coker project follows an $87.5 million project completed last year to reduce sulfur in diesel as required by federal regulations.
CHS Inc. is owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives in the Midwest and West.
In addition to the coker unit, CHS will add a sulfur recovery plant, a new flare and a new heater along with modifying existing units and shutting down others.
While the project will increase sulfur dioxide emissions and other pollutants from present levels, the increases will be below historic pollution levels and within refinerywide limits set in 2000, said Debbie Skibicki, a DEQ environmental engineer who wrote the permit.
CHS will reduce pollution from other sources to help offset increases from the new sources, Brown said.
Overall, however, the refinery has added updated pollution controls as the plant has expanded, Brown said.
“We’ve reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by greater than 90 percent in 12 years,” he said. “We feel that’s a pretty good story to tell. We feel it’s the right direction.”
In 2005, CHS for the first time came in under the 1,000-ton mark for sulfur dioxide by emitting 646 tons for 19.2 million barrels of oil refined, according to DEQ information. In 1993, the refinery emitted a high of 8,966 tons of sulfur dioxide and refined 14.6 million barrels of oil.
With the coker, the refinery expects to emit less than 750 tons of sulfur dioxide annually, Brown said.
The coker also will produce about 800 tons of coke a day. Brown said the company has not yet decided where the coke will go but will build a rail loading facility. “We won’t be storing any coke on site,” Brown said.
The loading facility will fill rail cars with coke for shipment to the West Coast for overseas markets. The coke also could be burned locally at the Yellowstone power plant, a co-generation plant in Lockwood. The power plant burns coke from ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips.
“We’ll likely talk to them,” Brown said.
CHS expects there to be little dust with the coke-loading process, Brown said.
The coke will be dumped into a walled concrete structure and placed onto a covered conveyor by a front end loader. Rail cars will be filled using a telescoping spout, so the coke will not be exposed to wind. The spout contains a sensor and will be lowered to within 2 inches of the bottom of the car. As the car fills with coke, the spout will automatically retract.
The coke also comes out of the coker drum wet, and the refinery can add water to keep the product damp, Brown said.
CHS plans to have the coker in operation by December 2007, which Brown admits is a “very aggressive construction schedule.” At peak construction in spring 2007, the project will have 1,000 workers, he said.
Finding skilled workers may be a challenge in the wake of a labor shortage as the Gulf Coast rebuilds from hurricane Katrina. The refinery will look primarily at the Montana work force but expects to go outside the state, Brown said. The labor shortage could affect the overall cost and schedule of the project, he said.
March 31, 2006 at 12:23 am #7624
Industry wide Resources
Resource population growing older
Non interest of young population to enter industry
Hurricane(s) Factors ($5000 signing bonus at Burger King)
1986 bottom dropped out for craftspersons saw as much as a $4 rate decrease
From 1986 to just before the Hurricanes a typical craftsperson would have only seen a $6 increase in pay over 20 years
Present Market 2006
Power Industry 316 Projects $18.58 Billion
Manufacturing 485 Projects $11.56 Billion
LNG 44 Projects $5.8 Billion
Chemicals 366 Projects $5.44 Billion
Pharmaceuticals 97 Projects $4.21 Billion
Refining 108 Projects $1.67 Billion
Whitney Strickland of AltairStrickland Turnaround Services delivers the rest of this informative Presentation at the May 2006 Coking.com Safety Seminar
March 31, 2006 at 12:24 am #7623
CHS Refinery Coker project in Montana just moved a step closer with its approval from the state this week. The online date is Dec 2007 for the 800 TPD new coker addition that will load rail cars for either YELP Cogen already fed by ConocoPhillips & ExxonMobil petcoke or go West Coast for export shipments.
Looks like they may be in need of construction workforce during peak construction period in Spring 2007.
Charles E. Randall
Pace Global Energy Services
808 Travis Street Suite 1107
Houston, TX 77002
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