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ConocoPhillips Woodriver Expansion Ok'd

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Charles Randall 14 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #3432

    Charles Randall

    Costello says final permit OK’d for ConocoPhillips expansion

    September 9, 2008 – 7:06PM

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello late Tuesday applauded the final permit approval for the expansion of the ConocoPhillips Wood River refinery, which he says will allow the facility to process Canadian crude oil and produce a wider variety of fuels.
    The $2 billion project will employ an average of 1,500 workers and up to 2,500 during construction, and will support 100 new full-time jobs when completed. Costello worked with ConocoPhillips and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the approval process.
    “This is tremendous news for the region and the nation,” Costello said. “The Wood River refinery expansion is a major step forward, allowing for more production and increasing our national supply of transportation fuels with strong environmental protections, setting an example for the entire industry.”
    The Roxana plant is officially called the WRB Refining LLC Wood River Refinery. ConocoPhillips operates the plant and owns it in partnership with Encana Corp.
    “This is a significant investment in our region, producing good-paying jobs and supporting other businesses. ConocoPhillips has pursued this project with great dedication, and I look forward to continuing working with company officials and local leaders as the project proceeds.”
    Costello’s statement made no mention of recent legal hurdles that have blocked the expansion project and it was unclear late Tuesday what other obstacles may remain.

  • #6601

    Charles Randall

    Conoco permit may set new refinery standard

    September 11, 2008
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    By Gitte Laasby Post-Tribune staff writer
    BP Whiting and other American refineries may have to implement stricter pollution control measures if a newly issued, tweaked permit for an Illinois refinery becomes the standard. An environmental organization believes it will.
    “Our interpretation is, this likely sets a precedent particularly for flaring that other refinery expansions across the country are going to have to live up to. This is a win for anyone who lives near a refinery. It will hopefully lead to a reduction in smog and health problems related to the emissions that are likely to come out of those flares,” said Josh Mogerman, spokes-man for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
    The NRDC had appealed the original air permit for ConocoPhillips in River Wood, Ill., arguing that flares from the refinery’s new $2 billion coke oven would release excessive pollution.
    The NRDC has made similar arguments in an appeal of BP Whiting’s air permit. Both refineries use flares to burn off excessive gas that builds up in the refining process.
    Like BP, ConocoPhillips is undergoing a modernization to process more Canadian crude oil.
    A federal appeals board, which reviewed the ConocoPhillips permit, said the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had to better explain its flaring requirements. The Illinois EPA has now approved a tweaked permit, which requires the company to do more monitoring of the refinery’s flares, implement a plan to prevent flaring and find out why if it occurs. That is already required in California.
    “They have to do root-cause analysis if they have a significant flaring event. Go in and see why it happened, maybe get in consulting services to find out, is this something we can minimize by operating differently,” said Chris Romaine, who reviewed the ConocoPhillips permit for the Illinois EPA. “ConocoPhillips agreed to more than was required by the initial permit. We agreed to do a little more than we might have been comfortable with.”
    NRDC’s Mogerman estimated the tweaks prevent emissions of 500 tons of pollutants per year. ConocoPhillips spokesman Bill Graham said the company agreed to add a system to monitor the flares after the federal review by EPA’s Appeals Board.
    “There were a couple of questions. One was, are we using best available technology for the flaring. It was determined that we are because we are installing state-of-the-art flare recovery. The additional thing we’re doing is that we’re putting in environmental monitoring equipment for the flares,” Graham said.
    The company already planned to install a flare gas recovery system, which recycles the gas and uses it for energy in the refinery rather than burning it in flares.
    Cheryl Newton, acting director of the air division at U.S. EPA Region 5, said as far as she knows, ConocoPhillips is using the same kind of system to capture the gases to avoid the flaring as BP, but that comparisons between the two are otherwise hard to make.
    ConocoPhillips’ permit is considered a major permit because emissions are higher and there are different standards for pollution control equipment than BP, which is a minor permit. The Illinois EPA’s permit is reviewed by a federal board while the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s permit for BP is reviewed by the state’s Office of Environmental Adjudication. That means the ConocoPhillips decision may not have a direct legal impact on BP, but environmentalists could bring it up when the OEA hears three appeals of BP Whiting’s air permit in the summer of 2009.

    Contact Gitte Laasby at 648-2183 or Comment on this story at

  • #6600

    Charles Randall

    Here is update on COP Woodriver permit the “Rest of the Story” as Paul Harvey used to say.  It appears that COP has once again submitted to the Environmental thugs like NDRC and agreed to higher level pollution control measures that they will use to leverage other refinery/coker expansions with (BP Whiting mentioned here is now in gunsights).
    COP did something similar this time last year (~Oct 2007) when they agreed to pay Environmental “Green Mail” of $10MM for their Rodeo Refinery expansion, to Serria Club/NDRC types, which not only gave them lot funds but set this buy-off precedent to use on any future refinery expansions. <Chevron Richmond is going thru mill now>.  Their justification was that their project went ahead while several are still tied up by the environmental groups and that the cost on even the lowest priced product (Petcoke) would work out to about +$1/ton over life project.
    It is hard to argue with logic of getting critical projects past a roadblock & costly environmental legal challenges but it is obvious that they now have set costly precedents for everyone else. And COP has placed a target on their back at any Refinery site as a patsy that will cave-in/pay-off which insures even more challenges by these thugs than they might originally have had.
    I just hate that these Environmental thugs are getting away with having an over-ride over the Government agencies where new projects are reviewed. Both the EPA and State Agencies are forced to either withdraw or review any projects like Woodriver where they do grant a permit because they have been brow-beat by these “thugs/terrorist”.
    The Refineries need to push for Crisis program to get Refineries badly needed by the US to meet demands and fast track permits & projects and put a block on these anti-industry agencies from these “forever delays” and also prevent any granted permit from being withdrawn based on junk-science challenges like this one was.
    The rule should be that unless the refinery has more pollution than the worst refinery in Venezuela or China that is supplying our import gasoline – then it can’t be challenged by NIMBY’s.

  • #6555

    Charles Randall

    ConocoPhillips, EnCana Start U.S. Refinery Expansion (Update2)

    By Jim Polson
    Sept. 24, 2008 (Bloomberg) — ConocoPhillips, the second-largest U.S. oil refiner, and Calgary-based EnCana Corp. began construction this week on a $3.6 billion Illinois refinery expansion to boost Canadian heavy-oil processing.
    The Wood River refinery will more than double its capacity to refine heavy oil from Canada’s oil sands into fuels such as gasoline and diesel to 240,000 barrels a day in 2011, EnCana said today in a statement. Crude-oil processing capacity at the plant will increase 16 percent to 356,000 barrels a day.
    The venture between the companies plans to more than double total heavy-oil production from Canadian tar sands to 180,000 barrels a day by 2012, EnCana said.
    Foundation-piling installation at Wood River, near St. Louis, began this week after the project received U.S. regulatory approval, EnCana said. The expansion includes a 65,000 barrel-a-day coker to process the tar-like oil.
    Output of so-called clean products with less pollution will rise 32 percent to 330,000 barrels a day and production of asphalt, a cheaper product, will be eliminated.
    Canadian oil sands contain as much as 173 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil, a reserve second only to that of Saudi Arabia, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The group has forecast that production will rise to almost 4 million barrels a day in 2020 from 1 million barrels now.
    EnCana, Canada’s largest natural-gas producer, announced plans in May to split into separate gas and integrated-oil companies. The oil company will hold stakes in a Borger, Texas, refinery as well as Wood River.
    Expansion Venture
    EnCana and ConocoPhillips agreed to form the joint venture in October 2006, with the purpose of expanding the Wood River and Borger refineries, as well as tar-sands output in Canada.
    ConocoPhillips, based in Houston, rose 1 percent to $75.32 as of 9:30 a.m. in composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange. EnCana gained 40 cents to C$73.76.
    Valero Energy Corp., based in San Antonio, is the largest U.S. oil refiner.
    To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Polson in New York at Last Updated: September 24, 2008 09:39 EDT

  • #6554

    Charles Randall

    Here is update on the WRN (COP-Encana JV) Woodriver Refinery/Coker that just began construction this week.
    Also – I believe that when next round of Valero refinery sales will drop Valero from its current title of largest US refinery mentioned at bottom article & COP would then be next in line for the title. 

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