Koch, BP reach innovative refinery emissions agreements with regulators


The US Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday agreements had been reached with BP and Koch Petroleum Group that will reduce air emissions at 12 refineries.

Justice said the agreements, together valued at nearly $600 million, are the largest ever in the refining industry. When fully implemented, they will eliminate nearly 60,000 tons/year of air pollution.

EPA Administrator Carol Browner said, �We appreciate the unprecedented cooperation from BP and Koch in stepping forward to work with us to reach this innovate and comprehensive agreement.�

Under the deal, BP will spend more than $500 million to improve pollution control technologies and work practices at nine refineries that will reduce emissions from smokestacks, leaking valves, wastewater vents, and flares. Koch will invest up to $80 million at three refineries to achieve the same goals.

EPA said the deals represent a breakthrough in its enforcement strategy for US refineries by achieving comprehensive, across-the-board compliance on a cooperative basis.

The agreement, which affects 15% of US refining capacity, will cut nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide emissions by 49,000 tons/year from the 12 plants by 2004, and another 6,000 tons by 2008, when new technologies become available.

Also, improved leak detection and repair practices and other pollution control upgrades will reduce smog-causing volatile organic compound emissions by 3,600 tons/year and benzene emissions by 400 tons/year.

The agencies said, �The agreement also includes measures to improve safety for workers and local communities that will sharply reduce accidental releases of pollutants.�

They said BP also agreed to pay a $10 million penalty and Koch a $4.5 million penalty for past violations.

BP and Koch opened talks with EPA this spring rather than wait for possible enforcement action, said DOJ and EPA. In return for their cooperation and commitments, EPA offered a �clean slate� for certain past violations, and greater flexibility and incentives for installation of new technology.

Justice said the agreements with BP and Koch set the framework for a comprehensive consent decree, which is due for completion within a few weeks.

BP operates refineries at Belle Chase, La.; Los Angeles; Bellingham, Wash.; Mandan, ND; Salt Lake City; Toledo, Ohio; Texas City, Tex.; Whiting, Ind.; and Yorktown, Va. Koch has a refinery at Rosemont, Minn., and two refineries at Corpus Christi, Tex.

Groundbreaking approach
The agreements are seen as groundbreaking for several reasons. They foster cooperation between industry and regulatory authorities, they provide the refiners with the flexibility to use emerging technologies to reach clear-cut environmental goals, and they approach past problems from the standpoint of solutions rather than punishments.

"This agreement [with Koch] breaks new ground for EPA and the refining industry at large in two important ways," said Eric Schaeffer, director of EPA's Office of Regulatory Enforcement. "First, it demonstrates that we can reconcile two critical goals by preserving both a competitive environment for American industry and a clean environment for the American public. Second, and equally important, it proves that, in addressing these complex and contentious issues, we can still work together without incurring the costs and delays of burdensome litigation."

Koch seems to value the opportunity to address its past violation through future performance goals.

"This agreement addresses the past in a small way and the future in a big way," said Jim Mahoney, executive vice-president of operations for Koch Petroleum. "It closes some old, disputed issues to the satisfaction of all parties involved and lays out an efficient, flexible path forward to implementing additional clean technologies and best practices at our Minnesota and Texas refineries."

Don Clay, Koch's vice-president of environment and regulatory affairs and a former EPA assistant administrator, said, "The EPA's efforts to work with companies in an atmosphere of mutual trust and cooperation to pave the way for pollution-control advances are to be commended. We all agree that a clean environment is good for America and good for business. This agreement clearly shows that, when it comes to complex environmental issues and evolving regulatory requirements, cooperative processes are the most effective path to shared stewardship goals."

"If we stay focused on the twin goals of a clean environment and a competitive, job-generating economy," said Mahoney, "vigorous debate on complex regulatory issues can lead to real progress. New discoveries and technologies, along with evolving compliance responsibilities, force us all to constantly reexamine past practices, best practices, and future plans. That process need not result in drawn-out, expensive litigation. This agreement is proof positive."

Related Articles

Alberta’s premier seeks more North American energy integration

02/05/2015 Better policy integration and cooperation will be needed for Canada, Mexico, and the US to fully realize the North American energy renaissance’s po...

Oil, gas infrastructure investments essential, House panel told

02/04/2015 Investments in oil and gas transportation and storage should move ahead because they are essential in continuing the US economic recovery and North...

EPA suggests DOS reconsider Keystone XL climate impact conclusions

02/03/2015 The US Department of State might want to reconsider its conclusions regarding potential climate impacts from the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pip...

Obama’s proposed fiscal 2016 budget recycles oil tax increases

02/02/2015 US President Barack Obama has proposed his federal budget for fiscal 2016 that he said was designed to help a beleaguered middle class take advanta...

So much for cooperation

02/02/2015 Congressional majority leaders and the Obama administration came into 2015 pledging to at least try to be less combative and more cooperative in ru...

Woodside gets NEB approval for British Columbia LNG exports

02/02/2015 Woodside Energy Holdings Pty. Ltd. has received approval from Canada’s National Energy Board on its application for a 25-year natural gas export li...

Data refute Lew's claims about taxes paid by producers

02/02/2015

On the subject of taxation, administration officials count on the public to believe anything.

Kerry expects to receive other agencies’ Keystone XL reports soon

02/02/2015 US Sec. of State John F. Kerry said he expects to receive other federal agencies and departments’ reports soon on the proposed Keystone XL crude oi...

The ANWR blitz

02/02/2015 Deception begins with a 58-sec video on the White House web site in which President Barack Obama says he'll ask Congress to make the whole Arctic N...
White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

When Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST


Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected