ExxonMobil denies allegations of violations at Baytown, Tex., refinery


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 3 -- Activist groups alleged Tuesday ExxonMobil Corp.'s 508,000-b/d Baytown, Tex., refinery -- the nation's largest -- has a history of persistent pollution problems, including repeated violations of state and federal law.

ExxonMobil disputed those claims. It said, "Our environmental record is a good one, and we continue to make improvements." It added that the report appeared to contain a number of misrepresentations about how the plant operates and its history.

The study, commissioned by the Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) coalition and released by the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club and Public Citizen's Texas office, also claimed the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) had failed to address the alleged problems.

"This is bad news for Texans who want clean air," said Peter Altman, SEED executive director. "What this report makes clear is that major polluters can repeatedly violate our clean air laws, neglect to fix persistent problems, under-report or fail to report vital information -- and the TNRCC will sit back and let them do it."

SEED said the report was based on records from the refiners dating between 1984 and 2000.

It alleged that it found repeated and persistent accidental release and related problems; failure to report problems and emissions; underestimation of problems and emissions; failure to properly maintain emissions monitors; and possible violations of federal law on reporting and modifications.

The report claimed TNRCC had failed to issue notices of violations, pursue violations regarding improper reporting, conduct independent reviews of emissions and other reporting, and keep accurate records of refinery operations and compliance history.

Erin Rogers, Coordinator of the Alliance for a Clean Texas, a coalition of environmental, consumer, and religious organizations, said, "The problems at ExxonMobil are part of a larger problem with the TNRCC's apparent interest in protecting the polluters it is supposed to regulate. Most recently, the agency has written and promoted a series of amendments which undermine legislative reforms that protect public health."

Altman said the groups are asking the US Environmental Protection Agency to investigate the refinery. "In addition to the violations of state law, we believe that ExxonMobil may be illegally making major modifications to the plant without obtaining the necessary permits."

ExxonMobil said it has made substantial investments to reduce emissions at the refinery over the last 30 years.

It said, "Hydrocarbon emissions from the Baytown refinery have been reduced by more than 90% since 1970. The Baytown refinery voluntarily applied for and received in 2000 an environmental permit from TNRCC for all of its grandfathered facilities.

"Even though these facilities were not required to be permitted, they still met stringent control requirements and have been part of the refinery's continuous effort over the years to reduce overall emissions.

"We are currently designing and implementing new control equipment to make further substantial emissions reductions as required by both this voluntary permit and by the new nitrogen oxide rules recently adopted by TNRCC to control ozone."

ExxonMobil said at their request, it allowed members of the SEED coalition to tour the refinery and review its operations in February. It said SEED did not allow it to comment on the allegations before the report was released.

Related Articles

Inhofe, Lankford say new BIA rules threaten Osage oil operations

07/10/2015 New US Bureau of Indian Affairs regulations that increase production expenses on tribal lands could put the Osage Nation out of business, Oklahoma’...

House panel’s crude export ban hearing weighs urgency against caution

07/10/2015 A US House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on legislation to repeal the ban on exporting US-produced crude oil quickly broke along party l...

Chevron Phillips Chemical makes executive appointments

07/10/2015

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LLC has made several executive appointments, all effective Aug. 1.

Gov. Tomblin forms West Virginia oil, gas safety commission

07/10/2015 West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) established the oil and gas safety commission he announced in his 2015 State of the State address. The grou...

Lukoil taps new blending technology for Russian refinery

07/09/2015 OAO Lukoil has selected Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), a division of Honeywell International Inc., to provide process control technology design...

Transco seeks FERC approval for New York Bay Expansion project

07/09/2015 Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC (Transco), a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams Partners LP, has filed an application with the US Federal E...

House Oversight panel subpoenas Kerry for Keystone XL documents

07/09/2015 The US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena to US Sec. of State John F. Kerry for reports, recommendations, letters, a...

Ending crude export ban would help rural US areas, House panel told

07/09/2015 Rural US communities generally have benefited from the nation’s crude oil production renaissance, and potentially could be helped more if restricti...

Courts less deferential to regulatory agencies, GMU forum told

07/08/2015 US Supreme Court decisions in the recently completed term suggest that judicial deference to federal regulatory agencies is starting to recede, spe...
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

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
Available Webcasts

On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


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

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


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