June 5, 2008 at 7:22 pm #3592
EPA rejects air permits for ConocoPhillips Wood River Refinery expansion
Thursday June 5, 2008 / St. Louis Business Journal – by Matt Allen
An appeal board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected required air permits for ConocoPhillips planned expansion of its Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Ill.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) led the challenge, which argued that harmful air pollution from the refinery’s flares, which relieve pressure in the refining process, was not being sufficiently controlled. The decision means ConocoPhillips will have to come up with a plan to hold flare emissions down.
“Our intention is not to stop the expansion project, but to ensure that the refinery lives up to the standards of the Clean Air Act and its protections for the people who live and work nearby,” Ann Alexander, senior attorney for the NRDC and lead litigator on the challenge, said in a statement. “ConocoPhillips simply ignored the requirement to find and use the best available pollution control technology.”
A ConocoPhillips spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
ConocoPhillips announced in January 2007 a joint venture with Calgary, Alberta-based EnCana that could result in a $4 billion investment at the Wood River Refinery.
ConocoPhillips and EnCana, one of North America’s largest natural gas producers, finalized an agreement that created two 50/50 operating partnerships, one in Canada and one in the United States, with both companies contributing equally valued assets and equity for capital expenditures.
The plan calls for two phases of construction to expand the heavy-oil processing capacity at ConocoPhillips’ Wood River and Borger, Texas, refineries to 550,000 barrels per day by 2015. Wood River’s current heavy-oil processing capacity is about 60,000 barrels per day.
Previous Background COP WRN Permits:
Permits issued. Comment periods expired. “CORE” PSD permit currently being challenged before the U.S. EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB).
The “CORE” Project is the major expansion, and that PSD permit was issued to ConocoPhillips on July 19, 2007 – Comment period expired. The “ULSD” Project is a smaller project, and that construction permit (not triggering NSR) was issued to WRB Refining, LLC on June 11, 2007. [[Environmental Integrity Project on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council on behalf of the American Bottom Conservancy filed a petition for review of the CORE permit with the U.S. EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) on Aug. 21, 2007. That case is currently pending before the EAB.
CORE Permit and associated documents
Comments submitted by Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club, and the American Bottom Conservancy *EAB Docket regarding the CORE permit
ULSD Permit number 04050026 and associated documents
June 5, 2008 at 7:48 pm #6803
Here is update on COP WRN Refinery JV expansion – EPA rejected air permits which were challenged in appeal by Environmental Integrity Project = behalf NDRC & Sierra Club. The lame excuse was lack of control on flare emissions – flares are for emergency situations, start-up & shutdowns where safety requires actions that are in conflict with normal operations to be effective!
When is EPA going to stop being a shill for these Environmental groups whose real goal is not protection but elimination of anything fossil & especially existing plants future. The Sierra Club & NDRC are the worst examples representing less than 16% of US opinion but somehow with help EPA, & liberal Media have been able to block 100% of attempts for new refineries last 30 years and to turn any attempted expansions to an ordeal of cost & time that allow only most determined & profitable to attempt it.
This has got to stop! But at least some of it can be laid back at COP’s willingness to pay off these thugs rather than strongly challenge them. A similar challenge for their Rodeo Refinery expansion was met with COP paying nearly $10 Million in “Green Mail” to Sierra Club / NDRC jerks to allow project to proceed.
(And if the way that money was spent by Seria was held same standard for its “green” impact……none of it would have been allowed.) I am afraid it also set a precedent that California Governor Brown welcomed & COP is going to be faced with everytime now, because they now have “easy-pay” label by these groups…..and the opposition lawyers can count on getting paid ….. eventually.
But of course you cannot argue with COP’s outcome – lot other refinery projects in NIMBY rich California went down in flames/still trying while the COP project went forward with “Sierra blackmail cost” cheaper than a lawsuit and cost less than +$1/ton on cheapest refinery product made (petcoke over 20 years of project). But isn’t that how all gangsters, blackmailers & thugs all stay in business – by intimidation and threats and staying just below cost of fighting them based on principal?
Still just makes me want to puke – NIMBY Environmentalist like Sierra Club are able to hold whole industry & even whole country hostage and yet they have the worst track record for doing any Global Environmental good! Meanwhile they wreck the economy, industries & everybody’s domestic jobs because of cost they lied about not existing or push industry to countries that are not held accountable for any environmental control when they do exactly the same process. Moving Refining & Industry processing to countries like India & China where no controls exist has created the current 20 worst polluted cities in world now where 12-14 are in China & 5 are in India and China has risen to become largest polluter with no framework or accountability because these type of groups working with Kyoto did not deem developing countries needed to be held accountable.
There needs to be a movement whereby EPA & the NIMBY groups cannot block any US refinery unless they can show it’s operation will be worse than any of the foreign refineries that now import product into the US. And Restricting developing countries where no oversight exist but allowing controlled expansion in developed countries
needs to become a goal one for the idiots that created this problem.
June 16, 2008 at 12:23 am #6788
Giant drums safe from flooding, refinery says
By DENNIS GRUBAUGH The Telegraph June 13, 2008
HARTFORD – Floodwaters are lapping around some missile-like hardware that now is parked and waiting for a planned refinery expansion project. But even if the Mississippi River continues to rise, the coke drum units should not be in any danger, a refinery spokeswoman said.
The four gigantic drums now sit on the river side of the levee south of Hartford, just west of where Piasa Lane ends. Water has risen up to either side of an access road on which the units now sit.
The drums are part of the planned $2 billion expansion of the WRB Wood River Refinery, a ConocoPhillips project that was dealt a blow last week when a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency panel rejected permits previously granted by the Illinois EPA. Refinery officials are continuing with planning in hopes of eventually getting the needed permits.
The 133-foot drums, which are 33 feet in diameter, were ordered some months ago and arrived by barge sometime before Monday morning. They are likely to stay there for some time, even as the water continues to rise.
“I was told (by personnel) that they didn’t think it would be a problem,” refinery spokeswoman Melissa Erker said. “We think they are high enough off the ground.”
The 600-ton drums are larger in size than the two scrubbers that were moved by huge transports from the levee to the refinery on May 1. Right now, the drums are lying on their sides along the levee. If constructed, they will be placed vertically, Erker said. The drums are the biggest part of the planned expansion, but they are not the last of the parts that will be shipped in, depending on what happens with the permit.
“We will be hauling many pieces,” Erker said. “Everything from pipe racks to other vessels used in the refining process.”
All of the equipment purchased for the expansion will be shipped via the Mississippi River on barges and hauled to the refinery on the route used in May by the scrubbers, which are pollution reduction equipment. The equipment will vary in height and length.
The drum is an integral part of a coker unit, the part of the unit that the crude product flows through to be processed.
Erker provided this explanation of the coking process: In the drum, the coker gas oil vaporizes and separates from the mixture. It is directed to a fractionation column, where it is separated into the desirable boiling point fractions. The liquid coke solidifies in the drum as it cools and the velocity slows down.
After the drum is full of solidified coke, the hot mixture from the furnace is switched to a second drum. While the second drum is filling, the full drum is steamed to further reduce hydrocarbon content of the pet coke, and then water is used to cool it. The top and bottom heads of the full coke drum are removed, and the solid pet coke is then cut from the coke drum with a high-pressure water nozzle, where it falls into a pit for reclamation.
Larger cokers have several pairs of tandem drums. Wood River will have two pairs of coke drums for a total of four.
June 17, 2008 at 10:49 am #6782
The article has wrong diameter & length on COP Woodriver Coke drums they are 30 ft Diameter and only 130 ft F-F/ 89 ft T-T.
Not that it makes much difference until Permit mess gets sorted out.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.